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Furthermore it was a challenge for the government to provide computers and other equipments at large level (Thaichayapong, 1997)
Similarly Russell Pipe who was the Deputy Director of Global Informaiton Infrastructure Commission also criticized the policy saying that there were many risks involved in spreading IT facility and also that the expectations are high. He also stated that IT policy 2000 aims to provide TI facilities all through the country but practically it will need ten years to offer these services to every part of the country particularly to the rural areas. This problem was due to the inability of two government institutions CAT and TOT which were not capable of providing information infrastructure to fulfil the requirements of NIL. Pipe also commented that the dream of Thailand to be an information society in the next decades is not realistic because of the strong influence of buddism on Thai society which believes that Thai people are not enough enthusiastic to enhance themselves. In addition he pointed out that the political system in Thailand is not strong and thus the government does not hold strong leadership to implement the IT policy 2000. (Thaichayapong, 1997)
4. IT Policy 2010
The second IT policy was aimed at covering a period of ten years i.e., 2001-2010 and it extended its scope by including five more application domains where IT will be necessary to use; e-government, e-commerce, e-industry, e-education and e-society. The final goal of IT policy 2010 is focused at utilization of IT for the purpose of sustainable economic and social development of Thailand.
Objectives of the Policy
The IT policy 2010 has three main objectives;
1. Investing in knowledge-based human resources
2. Promotion of development of new technologies in the country's social and economic systems
3. Investment in information industry for information infrastructure.
Goals of the Policy
The IT policy 2010 has three main goals:
1. The first goal of this policy is based on the Technology Achievement Index of United Nations Development Program (UNDP). United Nations has divided countries into four groups according to their capacity of using IT for the development of their country: (a) Leaders comprise developed countries that are able to make new innovation in information technology and distribute their technologies to the developing countries. In addition these countries have skilled people in the IT; (b) potential leaders comprise the countries that are capable of becoming leaders in future. These countries have made investment to develop human resources in IT and are self-sufficient in the filed of IT. Though they do not have made innovations in the field of IT yet their people are as expert as the leaders. (c) Dynamic adopter comprises the countries that have actively adopted new technologies. They posses technology industries but don't have widespread technologies; and (d) marginalized countries are those countries that have not sufficient human resource in the field of IT and need to develop and train people in this sector. In these countries people are not benefiting from new technologies. Through this IT policy Thailand aims to be in the second category through the development in IT.
2. Second goal was to develop its workforce into a knowledgeable workforce.
3. Third goal of the IT policy 2010 was to develop Thailand into a knowledge-based economy. Thailand set a goal to hold a knowledge-based industry which will represent almost 550% of its GDP.
Strategies of the Policy
The main focus of current policy is to increase the use of information technology and this goal is clear from the vision of the policy. The policy had aimed to adopt following strategies to meet its goals and objectives; a) use of information technology for the development of government; (b) use of IT for business development (c) use of information technology for industrial development (d) use of IT in the education sector development and (e) use of IT for social development.
The IT policy 2010 has divided the strategies for development of information technology into five categories; e-Commerce, e-Government, e-Industry, e-Society and e-Education. Each category has been divided into sub-categories and thus has become more concrete to follow for the persons responsible for implementing strategies.
The first step towards implementation of IT policy 2010 was that NITC Secretariat organized a seminar on August 16, 2001 which was aimed at getting opinions from people interested to work or were working in the IT sector like government officials, businessmen as well as personnel from NGOs. In this seminar people from e-government, e-industry, e-education, and e-society participated and expressed their views and suggestions on the policy strategy. It was not surprising that the smallest group of all the participants talked about e-society and majority of this group belonged to nonprofit organizations.
This is the aspect which needs to be considered in the IT policy of Thailand. It is obvious that the national policy desires that massive benefit be derived from IT. Though it has been mentioned in the section of 'information technology for society development' of IT policy 2010 that local culture, local people and their intelligence is important. One significant objective of e-society is to endorse the incorporation amongst local knowledge and intelligence as well as latest knowledge to develop a society based on wisdom. Yet this objective is too ideal and there is no proper strategy to execute this aim. Unluckily the public policy on IT in Thailand does not the aspect of culture as how to prevent the Thailand culture from the negative effect of information technology.
5. The Thailand IT Policy and International Organizations and Corporations
As mentioned in the beginning, the IT policy was formulated due to the pressure of private and business sector and not on the suggestions of international organizations for the purpose of providing a competitive tool for the business to operate in and out of the country. This situation is consistent with Berthoud's concept (1999) who described the market system as man-made institute for the purpose of controlling society. Thus the IT market can be considered as a predictable pressure which was difficult to stop from expansion.
Yet, it was necessary to adjust the IT policy with the agreements Thailand had with WTO. Being a part of The General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS), Thailand had to agree to the principle of free trade by not imposing any legislation that are unarguable, impersonal and unbiased and create hurdles to trade (National Electronics and Computers Technology Center, 2001). This was the reason that Thailand liberalized its telecommunication services for foreign companies by the year 2006 (Pisitkasem, 1998). Thailand made another agreement with WTO and that was Information Technology Agreement (ITA). This agreement obligates its member to completely eradicate duties on IT products. Hence, Thailand got extension on this for at least some products by the year 2005 (National Electronics and Computers Technology Center, 2001).
Similarly there was a need to promote IT industry as well as foreign direct investment in this sector to improve its IT competencies. For this purpose Thailand had introduce policies for the foreign investors and thus had to liberalize and privatize its telecommunication services (Guntasopatr, 1999).
6. Public Policy Model
Public models help to explains how policy is forms, implemented, modified and also the methods through which its implementation can be influences. There are many models through which a policy can be explained. These include; Circular Model, Linear/Black Box theory, Model of a policy sector, Rational comprehensive model, Public Choice Theory, Advocacy Coalition frameworks and many other process models.
As is evident from the above discussion the IT policy of Thailand was formulated on the pressure from business sector. So the model involved in this policy is the model of a policy sector. According to this model public policy is formulated to accomplish the interests of a particular group of people. The group influences the government to establish a particular policy. In this model there are two players the business sector which raise requests and pressurizes the government to formulate a policy to preserve their interests and the second player is government which considering the benefits involved in spreading IT education and implementation creates the policy and implements it in the country.
IT policy 2000 was in particular formulated on the pressure and demand from business sector of Thailand. In 1992, business sector conducted a seminar and presented a draft IT policy to the government. The policy was further influenced by international organizations and corporations. Thailand had to liberalize its IT industry because of its agreement with WTO.
The policy analysis and further modification can also be explained under this model. Now there are discussion that policy needs to be changed as there are influence on the culture of the Thailand.
Developments till to date
Though government has made efforts to meet the targets set in the IT policy 2010 in particular information infrastructure yet it has not covered the whole country as regards the internet access, bandwidth speed or stability of the system (Pumipuntu, 2006).…[continue]
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