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INSIDE THAILAND
Reforming Social Protection System for Older Persons

11 April 2015

The National Reform Council has agreed to a proposal seeking to reform the social protection system in Thailand, as the country faces a future as an aging society.
 
The reform proposal was submitted by the Committee on the System Reform to Prepare for an Aging Society, chaired by Mr. Jermsak Pinthong, who explained that Thailand was facing a demographic change, and that in the next seven years, the aging population is expected to account for 20 percent of the population. The number of older persons in Thailand is likely to double in the next 22 years.
 
Mr. Jermsak said that reform alone is not the solution to the problem concerning the growing aging population. All sectors of society must attach greater importance to older persons, who should not be seen as a social burden, but a brain bank. In the future, people in the working age group will have to take care of a greater number of older persons.
 
Many senior citizens can still work actively and contribute greatly to society. They have more experience and may constitute the wealth of knowledge and experience from which younger generations can learn and benefit.
 
The Committee on the System Reform to Prepare for an Aging Society proposed reform in several areas. For instance, the savings system should be created as social security for senior citizens. Retirement age should be extended in both the public and private sectors. Businesses should diversify their locations and have more branches in the regional areas of the country, so that young people will be able to stay with their elders and will not have to migrate into large cities for employment. Older persons should be provided with facilities and better environments, as well as job opportunities.
 
Members of the National Reform Council shared the view that human security must be emphasized to empower senior citizens. Another proposal seeks to establish a committee to review the welfare system for the elderly. The committee should comprise representatives from public and private organizations and various funds.
 
It has also been suggested that efforts to push for the social security system for older persons should be included in the national agenda. The Governments national budget must be managed with greater efficiency in order to promote the social protection system reform to cope with the demographic change.
 
The reform also seeks to prepare Thai people to become older persons of higher quality and to enhance the potential of families and communities, so that they will play a greater role for all age groups. A basic pension system has also been proposed to replace the current income support policy. This will protect older persons from living in poverty.
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