PM tells digital meet that tech will reduce inequalities

Thailand’s 20-year national strategy to transform the Kingdom into a digital economy will result in reduced inequalities between urban and rural, rich and poor communities, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during his opening speech to the Thailand Big Bang 2017 technology fair last week that showcased the latest advances and innovations in the digital sector.

“I think that the digital transformation and Thailand 4.0 national strategy will drive Thailand in all dimensions and also reduce the gap in equality for Thais in metropolitan and remote areas,” Prayut told those attending the four-day event at the Impact Center in Nonthaburi province just north of Bangkok.

More than 120 companies engaged in digital technology exhibited at the fair, displaying their innovative products and services and exchanging ideas and viewpoints on how best to help drive Thailand’s transformation. Organizers of the fair included the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

The Prime Minister touted his government’s program to provide broadband internet access to all 74,000-plus villages in the country, no matter how poor or remote, pledging every village would have access by the end of next year. Internet access can serve as one means through which knowledge and opportunities can be delivered so that all Thais will have the tools they need to better themselves and their communities.

“It will help people to increase income in all communities and they will able to provide their produce via online channels and people in communities and remote areas can earn more income to improve their living standards,’’ Prayut said.

Through online learning and related technologies, the Prime Minister said that the government will train as many as 200,000 farmers to become “smart farmers” by 2021. Farmers will be able to use information and technology to become more productive and raise their standards so they can earn more and compete with farmers in more developed countries.

High-speed Internet will also allow people to access healthcare through telemedicine, and sell their local products on e-commerce platforms, the prime minister said.

The government will also build the 237-acre Digital Park Thailand in Sri Racha, Chon Buri as the center of the Eastern Economic Corridor, the three-province showcase development zone for the Thailand 4.0 national strategy.

In addition, the development of smart cities will raise quality of life in urban areas, protect the local environment and enable the country to use resources more efficiently, the Prime Minister concluded.