Suggestions for Thailand’s new MICT – Part 2

Posted: June 17, 2010 in Thailand

In my post Suggestions for Thailand’s new MICT I looked at his list of priorities and offered a few suggestions directly related to it. In this post I have some additional suggestions.

It happened that the June 17 issue of The Nation had both the story about the new MICT and also a story about Singapore’s “OneInBox” service. That’s a service that Singapore will launch in 2012 to automate correspondence between the government and the city-state’s five million residents, of which mone million are foreigners. My suggestion for Thailand’s new MICT is to look at that closely and follow their lead.

The OneInBox service establishes an email account for every resident and business entity that provides one-stop access to all correspondence to and from government agencies. It’s a very simple concept, isn’t it? Implementation is certainly complex since all government agency systems have to be integrated with it so that instead of using paper correspondence to transact business it all becomes electronic. From the public’s point of view it certainly seems easy. Just log in and see if you have email from the gov’t or submit any required documents. You can set up SMS alerts to notify you if a new email has arrived. Through the system you are able to conduct many government transactions such as renewal of residency permits, payment of traffic fines, etc.

It may be too ambitious for Thailand to roll out something like this since it is so far behind Singapore whose five million residents enjoy nearly universal computer access. But a partial roll out could still go a long way toward improving life in Thailand and services could be incrementally added as they make sense. Why not make it opt-in so that you can choose government transactions to handle online if you have the ability to do so.

Take one of the banes of foreigners living in Thailand, the 90 day report. The normal routine is to make the trip to your nearest immigration office where you fill out a simple form, wait in the queue to submit it, then it’s stamped and you leave. Why not save the environment by eliminating the paper to file and the fossil fuel to get you there, cut down on traffic – do it electronically instead. There is no fee for the 90 day report, not unless you forget and miss the deadline which can’t be that many people. There are zero security issues since you don’t even have to show up yourself; you can send someone else with your passport. So save the earth by making this an online process.

That’s one very simple example. MICT should follow the OneInBox program for ideas on what might work in Thailand.

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