The French government has unveiled a four-year plan to put more national and local government services online.
Project Adele (Administration Electronique) aims to simplify, secure and speed up citizens' interactions with local authorities, national government departments, and other public bodies dealing with health and social security by co-ordinating and linking together the online activities of these organisations.
From 2006, the electronic infrastructure supporting the nationwide health insurance smart card system will be upgraded so that the user can securely authenticate their identity online. At the same time, an electronic version of the French national identity card will be introduced.
The goal of the project is to simplify life for French citizens, putting an end to the "paper tax", or the need to take a half day off work to deal with simple administrative matters in person, said prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.
Although French citizens will still be able to visit government offices to deal with administrative formalities, they will have incentives for doing some things online. Next year, for example, the French will be offered a tax credit of €10 if they make their 2004 income tax declaration online, he said.
The project will also include the introduction of a single telephone number for information about any administrative matter and a single website which can inform 10 government offices of a change of address. Both these services will be available by the end of the year.
Peter Sayer writes for IDG News Service