To enhance the efficiency of services provided by the government sector through electronic means, the Draft Electronic Performance of Administrative Functions Act B.E. …. (“Draft EAA“) has recently been approved by the Thai Parliament. The Draft EAA, which is currently pending publication in the Royal Gazette, aims to facilitate the performance of state agencies via electronic methods as the main approach.
To whom will the Draft EAA apply?
All state agencies, including ministries and departments, provincial administrations, local administrations, state enterprises and public organizations.
(iii) independent constitutional organizations;
(iv) public prosecutor organizations; and (v) state enterprises in the form of companies.
The essence of the Draft EAA may be summarized as follows:
1. Submitting applications via electronic methods
In cases where it is required by law to apply for any service provided by state agencies, including applications for licenses, registrations and considerations, the applicants may submit such applications, including relevant evidence and copies thereof, via electronic methods. Unless otherwise specified by the applicants, any contact or documentation relating to the applicants performed by the state agencies must also be made via electronic methods.
2. Authentication by submitting a certified true copy of an ID card or copies of other state documents will no longer be required.
During the process of any application, where authentication through national ID cards is required, it will be the duty of the state agencies requiring such authentication and the Central Registration Office to do so. In addition, where it is necessary to have copies of any documents issued by state agencies, it will also be the duty of such state agencies to prepare such copies.
3. Licenses can be displayed via electronic means instead
In cases where it is required that the licenses granted must be displayed in an overt place, the grantees of such licenses can display the licenses via electronic methods instead. In this regard, the state agencies will also disclose, via electronic methods, the information regarding licenses issued for the general public to verify.
Additionally, in cases where it is required to display any licenses or documents for officers or officials, the persons so required may do so by displaying the licenses or documents in the form of electronic images or by other electronic methods, except for certain important documents to be further prescribed.
4. Communication between state agencies can be done via electronic means
The Draft EAA also guarantees the lawfulness of communications via electronic methods (i) between state agencies, (ii) between state officials and state agencies, and (iii) between the general public and state agencies or competent state officials in general. The state officials may also conduct any operations required to be in writing via a system of electronic methods and retain any information or documents so required by law in an electronic format.
5. Transformation to electronic state databases
For the benefit of facilitating the general public, the Draft EAA also specifies that the preparation and dissemination of the Royal Gazette must be done via electronic methods instead of publishing on paper. Moreover, the legal database and the legal search system of the government must also be provided and improved by electronic methods. Once the Draft EAA comes into force, certain actions by the government sector will be required in order to facilitate efficient implementation of the EEA. This includes:
Responsibilities of the Cabinet:
Specify electronic methods, including information and communication technology standards, to be implemented by state agencies.
Responsibilities of the state agencies:
– Announce electronic contact channels
– Announce information relating to licensing via electronic channels
– Announce electronic methods for displaying licenses
Prior to this, state agencies may follow other commonly followed standards. In addition, communications via any electronic channels employed by the state agencies and display of licenses by any electronic methods shall be deemed lawful in the meantime. This is another great step towards e-government for Thailand and we will wait and see what further developments arise.