[January 24] Thailand’s Thai Rak Thai Party, which swept national elections earlier this month, has announced plans to establish an information technology (IT) ministry as part of Thailand’s next government.
The party had campaigned on promises of creating an IT ministry that would take charge of Thailand’s IT development. The proposed ministry will also focus on better equipping the electronic infrastructure of all offices in the Thai government.
“We plan to pool the current IT departments in each ministry under the new IT ministry,” Thai Rak Thai executive committee member Wuttipong Pongsuan told The Nation newspaper.
The aim of the new ministry is to consolidate the introduction of computer and networking technology to Thailand and the various branches of the Thai government. Currently there are numerous departments charged with wiring the government.
The government’s primary organ for IT development thus far has been the (National Information Technology Committee NITC). During the past six months, NECTEC has guided the Thai government’s aspirations to join e-ASEAN, an initiative by the regional trade group to create an e-commerce network among member states.
The Thai Rak Thai ministry would unify disparate government projects to get Thailand up to speed in terms of technology and facilitate the decision-making process for a national IT budget.
Other aspects of Thailand’s IT ministry would include a “single command center” where information from government ministries could be pooled and monitored. Wuttipong said this would enable ministers to keep tabs on events throughout the country.
Before Thai Rak Thai embarks on any major changes to Thailand’s IT infrastructure, the party will study the equipment currently in place. “We plan to survey the existing infrastructure and utilize it so that the benefits are maximized,” Wuttipong said. “We don’t have any plans to build a new infrastructure to overlap the existing one. That wastes time and budget.”
Wuttipong also said the party would concentrate on broadening Internet access to Thais living in rural areas. Internet penetration remains low in Thailand where there are about one million Internet users among Thailand’s population of 61 million.