Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TAO councils of the 1960s

Chapter 3 of the 1987 book "Government and Politics of Thailand" on the bureaucracy gives an outline of the administrative structure as of 1980. Oddly it includes the TAO, which as far as I know were abolished after the 1972 coup - I suspect this is because this text is sourced on the 1973 Ph.D. dissertation by Tawat Wichaidit "Provincial Administration in Thailand", and the author of this chapter, Chai-Anan Samudavanija, was not aware that the administrative system had already changed quite a bit in the decade since the publication of his source. But this has the advantage that I could finally find some information on these first incarnation of the Tambon Administrative Organizations, as that 1973 dissertation wasn't published and thus is quite difficult to get into my library.

The relevant paragraph on the TAO reads as follows:
The tambon administrative organization has as its legislative body a council composed of the kamnan and all village headmen, plus one elected member from each village. These councils receive appropriations from the Department of Local Administration through the budget of the provincial council, and from the Department of Community Development (CD) through the Provincial CD Officer. Since its inception in 1956, the tambon administrative organizations has remained lightly financed and heavily dependent upon grants-in-aid from the central government; the typical tambon council received a grant of only 10,000 baht (US$500) a year.
Compare these with the current TAO council, which also has two representatives from each village, but the central administrative officers - subdistrict and village headmen - are no longer part of this council. When the TAO were created again since 1994, only in the first term of the councils the headmen were members of the council, but after this grace period the council has become completely elected.

Oddly, the above described TAO council in the 1960s is identical with the Tambon Councils as defined by the TAO and Tambon council act of 1994\, only that in 2001 the last of the Tambon councils were upgraded to TAO. If I am not mistaken, before 1994 these councils also included the subdistrict doctor, another official on the payroll of the Ministry of Interior. Guess I still have to research these two councils and their development a bit more to get the full picture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting, indeed. Carry on, I'm looking foward to reading it.