Monday, February 8, 2010

Municipal upgrades delayed for how long?

There are 140 upgrades of TAO to subdistrict municipalities which have been decided upon in the board meetings but according to the annual statistics of the Department of Local Administration not been done till December 15. The Thai Wikipedian Potapt, who keeps the district articles on the Thai Wikipedia much more current than I manage to do on the English one, made me realize that most probably these upgrades have probably been set back for four years. The last number of upgrades last year was mainly due to the fact that twelve years ago in 1997 a total of 3637 TAO were created, which by now finished three terms of their councils. The Ministry of Interior upgraded mostly those TAO which were at the end of their electoral terms and were pending the new election in September last year. Now all of those 140 TAO already have a new council, and its not much likely the freshly elected councilors will agree on a premature end of their terms for the pending upgrade - as the councils of TAO and municipalities have a different number of councilors there always needs to be a new election of the council in case of a change of municipal level. So we will probably see most of these delayed TAO upgrades no earlier than 2013, and this year will be a quiet year as in 1998 no TAO was created.

The other open question is why were so many upgrades approved and then about a quarter of them not done. Budget reasons might be the best guess, though it should have been clear at the beginning of 2009 that the year won't be easy for state income with the financial crisis just beginning, so it'd be smarter only to upgrade the economically strongest TAO, and not all which were qualified. For comparison, in the Asian crisis in 1997, which however created a much deeper fall for the Thai economy, all of the district creations pending were abolished completely.

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