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MOSCOW, December 19 (Itar-Tass) —— More than 1.3 million people have registered on the unified portal of public services launched two years ago.
The portal has proved highly effective and the number of its visitors increases 100,000 monthly, Rostelecom Vice President Alexei Nashchekin said.
The portal offers 140 federal public services and 371 regional public services in electronic form. All in all, it gives information on more than 34,000 public services.
Information kiosks are installed for people who have no Internet at home. “Up to date, 520 kiosks have been installed in 30 regions,” Nashchekin said.
“Thirty-eight regions are connected to the e-government system and work is underway to connect another 34 regions,” he said.
The Russian government plans to install over 100,000 information kiosks in regions by 2015 for the provision of public services in electronic form, Minister of Mass Communications Igor Shchegolev said earlier.
“They become popular right away and people line up not to operators but to the kiosks,” the minister said.
In order to eliminate waiting lines, the government plans to install more information kiosks, including at post offices.
Unlike a payment terminal, an information kiosk has a printer and a scanner and can print out any questionnaire or send a copy of a document to the relevant agency. Payments can be made both in cash and with a bankcard. The universal electronic card to be issued from 2012 will provide access to such services.
Information kiosks will also have access to the portal of public services.
“It would be logical to assume that the mobile phone will become the next means of access,” Shchegolev said.
Almost 30 government agencies are presently connected to the system of electronic services, and work is underway to connect regional segments.
The government has simplified the registration procedure on the unified portal of public services, and now a person will no longer have to wait for an access code for entering his account to be mailed to him.
Rostelecom, the portal operator, is working to further simplify the registration process, Valery Zubakha, e-government project manager, said.
“We are working to improve the system of identification,” he said.
At present, a person has to fill in a questionnaire at the portal and then obtain an access code for registration, which is only mailed and can arrive in several weeks.
“There have been many complaints about this procedure, which is quite long. We are trying to transfer the function of issuing access codes to the customer service centres at Rostelecom and regional communication companies [from the state-owned holding company Svyazinvest],” Zubakha said.
The centres will also issue digital signatures to individuals and legal entities. The new system should replace the existing one.
The web portal of public services is considered to be a key element of the electronic services project.
About 360 million inquiries from citizens to government agencies are registered every year. “And this despite the fact that 17 percent of people in Russia do not go to government agencies at all,” Shchegolev said. The minister believes that the implementation of each stage of the project will reduce the number of visits to various government offices by one-fifth. This will also save work time because people will no longer have to ask for a day off in order to visit government offices. "We hope very much for cooperation with all those who have used this portal," Shchegolev said, adding that the portal had a special feedback section where visitors can leave a message, suggestions or complaints.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stressed the need to build a system of public and municipal services in electronic form within the next several years.
In his opinion, “the biggest progress can be seen where regional leaders deal with the issue themselves and understand its importance. But if regional authorities do not give it enough attention, we will think that they do not want to improve the quality of services and streamline bureaucracy, and do not think about how comfortable people feel.”
The federal target e-government programme, previously called e-Russia, was launched back in 2002. It was designed to take the country to a new level of information technologies. One of its components was the creation of so-called multifunctional centres.
The main principle of multifunctional centres is that all documents and certificates are processed and issued in one place. A centre will be opened to visitors at least 60 hours a week. A centre should be able to process at least four people per officer an hour. Waiting time should not exceed 15 minutes for the receipt of information, 45 minutes for the submission of documents and 15 minutes for the receipt of documents.
The strategy for the development of information society up to 2015 was adopted in 2008.
Rostelecom has been named the sole operator of the e-government project.
“There is no end to the project and it will evolve permanently,” Rostelecom telephone company Director-General Anton Kolpakov said.
He believes that this evolution will result in a “powerful and all-embracing document processing system” in Russia.
The unified web portal of public services launched in December 2009 accounts for only 10-15 percent of all work to be done under the e-government project, Kolpakov said.