State agencies seek to boost EGDI ranking
Looking to rise 10 places to 47 this year
State agencies are being urged to upgrade their digital services and expedite digital transformation to improve Thailand's ranking in the UN's E-Government Development Index (EGDI), says the chief of the Digital Government Development Agency (DGA).
"Whether we achieve the goals set out in the Thailand Digital Government Development Plan [2020-22] depends on the speed of digital transformation by state agencies," said Supot Tiarawut, president and chief executive of the DGA, which is tasked with digitising the working of the government.
Goal is 47th
Under the digital plan (2020-22), the government aims to improve its ranking in the EGDI by 10 places to 47th in 2022.
According to the 2020 edition of the EGDI, Thailand moved up 16 places to 57th from 73rd in 2018.
The survey, conducted every two years, assesses the digital government development of the 193 member states to identify their strengths, challenges and opportunities, as well as inform policies and strategies.
The EGDI is a composite measure of three important dimensions of e-government: provision of online services, telecommunication connectivity, and human capacity.
Thailand scored 0.756 on 2020's index -- above the global average of 0.598.
The 2020 ranking was led by Denmark, South Korea and Estonia, followed by Finland, Australia, Sweden, the UK, New Zealand, the US and the Netherlands.
Denmark topped the index with a score of 0.975, while South Korea scored 0.956.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore came out on top with a score of 0.915, ranking 11th in the world. The Asean average was 0.632.
According to Mr Supot, the digital plan aims to strengthen Thailand's competitiveness, reduce income disparity, promote transparency and promote public participation.
The plan comprises four strategies: upgrading quality services to the public by digital technology; facilitating Thai businesses; driving good governance among state agencies; and developing participation among all parties.
Citizen and Biz portals
He said the government allocated 2.4 billion baht in fiscal 2022 to support digital government transformation.
Mr Supot said significant projects include a "citizen portal", a welfare platform that allows people to access information about state welfare programmes.
There are 45 services offered through the citizen portal.
DGA aims to allow Thai citizens to access 170 services over the next three years.
Under the Digitalization of Public Administration and Services Delivery Act of 2019, the government needs to consolidate services and licences across all state agencies into a one-stop online platform.
The digital programme will let citizens access their data and digital copies of their information like birth certificates through a self-service portal.
The Digital Government Act, which came into force in May 2019, aims to help accelerate digital government development in Thailand to improve government service quality and increase the efficiency of back-end management.
The Act covers 100,000 state agencies, government hospitals, schools and sub-district administrations to comply with the law.
The keys to the scheme are the digitisation of internal systems in each agency, making data and services interchangeable, and integration leading to a one-stop service.
The other significant project is the One ID scheme, handled by the Office of SMEs Promotion, aimed to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), helping 3 million of them access government e-services and promoted government projects.
Some 1 million SMEs are projected to register with "One ID" by this December.
Regarding the next phase for SMEs, the DGA aims to develop big data for SMEs so that the government and related agencies can assist them more easily and directly.
In the first quarter of 2021, about 18,000 applications were submitted for licences via the DGA's "Biz portal", up from 10,000 during the same period in 2019 while the government expected that more businesses access the portal this year because of the Covid-19 outbreaks.
The Biz portal offers 78 licences and 25 groups of services.
Regarding the digital transcript project, some 22 universities have already joined the digital transcript project, with some of them implementing it in 2020.
The digital transcript project will be developed further to allow students to pay tuition fees online and link with overseas universities, he said.
Three private organisations -- the Thai Bankers' Association, the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Chamber of Commerce -- have agreed to support members using digital transcripts for job applications.
Mr Supot said his agency has also provided support to local administrations to use digital in their services. Some 100 local administrations offer digital services, with the number expected to reach 120 this year and 220 in two years.
In addition, Mr Supot, the DGA is developing a central portal to facilitate foreigners accessing government services in an effort to boost tourism and the economy.
The DGA organised a public hearing among related agencies to conduct a draft roadmap for the development of the platform, which is meant to facilitate visitors, business travellers, long-stay visitors, workers and students. The roadmap is slated to cover from 2023 to 2027.
Mr Supot said the agency also needs to conduct digital standards for digital government plans in order to promote integrated working among state agencies, while the agency organised a training programme among state agencies on digital literacy in which 200,000 had participated.
The DGA also established Data Innovation & Government Institutes to seek cooperation from the public and private sectors to share data that will help benefit the public and the private sector to prepare before they make any decisions or new investment.
The agency has just organised a meeting among related agencies to draft the digital government plan slated for 2023-27 focusing on income disparity reduction, SME development, education and environmental preservation.
- EGDI ranking