Thailand launches 'one-stop' e-government website
BANGKOK, Jan 19, 2011 (The Nation - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
E-government services in Thailand have taken a major step forward with the launch of a new website that will be a one-stop portal through which people can access all available electronic services offered by government organisations, with a single sign-on.
The Cabinet has also approved a name change for Government Information Technology Services (GITS). Before the end of the current quarter, it will become the e-Government Agency (eGA), with the aim of driving the creation and adoption of e-government services.
The manager of GITS' Government Application Management Department, Ponpiboon Satangput, said the e-government portal, at www.egov.go.th and www.egovernment.go.th, will offer all the e-services of government agencies, as a means of simplifying equal and universal access to information and services.
The website will also enable access for disabled people, according to the Thai Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2010.
Importantly, the website will operate under a single sign-on system using a username and password to authenticate the identity of visitors, who will then be able to contact all government agencies or access their e-services without need for further proof of identity.
Users of the system will be divided into four groups: the general Thai public, businesses, government staff and foreigners.
GITS' director of Government Application Development Asis Unyapoth said there were now about 10 government agencies that provided e-services to Thai users through a single sign-on system, including the departments of employment, highways and religious affairs. Overall, 24 government organisations provide e-services to the public.
Information and Communications Technology Ministry deputy permanent secretary Thaneerat Siriphachana said the new e-government portal would be a one-stop centre for government services, allowing Thai people all over the country to make online use of government-agency e-services.
It will create a network of information and knowledge linking the government and the people, he said. It will also accept suggestions from Thai users aimed at improving the portal and extending e-government services.
A Thailand e-government fan page has also been established on the social-networking site Facebook, allowing a free exchange of information, photos and videos between government agencies and Facebook members. It represents an "alternative choice for new-generation Thais" to contact government agencies and access information, Thaneerat said.
In October last year, Thailand had about 5.4 million Facebook users, and the number is growing rapidly.
The Facebook page will also allow government agencies to communicate with the public and transfer both information and knowledge. A number of government agencies are already involved with social media, including the Prime Minister's Office and the Commerce, Agriculture and Cooperatives and Tourism and Sports ministries.
Thaneerat said the ICT ministry was also planning to lay down the government information network (GIN) infrastructure, connecting about 1,004 government offices, including links between agencies in Bangkok and those upcountry, before the end of this year.
GITS director Sak Segkhoonthod said the Cabinet had recently approved the establishment by the ICT ministry of a public organisation to be called the e-Government Agency. Its job will be to offer consultancy services among government agencies, to drive the expansion of e-government services and to operate these services on behalf of government agencies. Taking on these responsibilities, Government Information Technology Services will soon change its name to the e-Government Agency (eGA), he said.
Sak said the eGA would follow the e-government roadmap detailed in Thailand's ICT Master Plan 2009-2013. The agency is now planning to establish "m-Government" -- or mobile government -- enabling government agencies to provide services to people via mobile phones.
In 2013, the eGA will provide "u-government" -- or ubiquitous government -- enabling government agencies to provide e-services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In 2014, it will be "t-government" -- or transformed government -- enabling government agencies to connect and transfer information through a variety of channels and devices.
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