BUSINESS / IT
President ushered transformation era through ICT - ICTA CEO
President Mahinda Rajapaksa ushered the era of transformation through
ICT, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) CEO Reshan Dewapura said.
ICTA CEO Reshan Dewapura addressing the IBM Software Executive
Summit 2011 held in Colombo recently
The ICTA CEO participating at the IBM Software Executive Summit 2011
held in Colombo recently, on the topic, 'Ushering the transformation era
with IT in Sri Lanka', said the President launched an era of
transforming the country through ICT about six years ago.
The war for victory in socio-economic development is making great
strides, Dewapura said referring to the people-friendly boost that the
President gave to ICT for Development as he became Prime Minister in
At that time ICT was a prerogative of the urban elite and seen at its
best only as a technology that enabled automation.
"Under the guidance of the President the change from ICT as an
elitist tool to a tool of taking universal knowledge to the village
received a shot in the arm," he said.
The contribution that ICT would make as a tool for socio-economic
development, its capability as a development accelerator in any sector,
its potential contribution as a boost to a country's economy thus came
to light rather late. But once this realisation came, ICT took a new
meaning, a new vision and got truly ingrained in the national
development plans of countries (specially developing countries).
With this people-friendly turn the e-Sri Lanka initiative aimed at
making the lives for people more comfortable by the use of ICT too took
a people-friendly turn.
An ICT Act was passed in Parliament, the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka was
set-up, donors pledged their support for e-Sri Lanka, Dewapura said
referring to the legal framework of the ICT4Development.
The fruits of these efforts at transformation of society through ICT
are now there to be seen - be it the ICT indexes, the ICT literacy, the
impact of Re-Engineering government programmes or taking ICT to the
grassroots, be it qualitative or quantitative, the achievements are
there for all to see.
"We strongly believe that e-Sri Lanka will go down in history as an
innovative programme that made a real difference in our country," he
Emphasising the value of considering ICT from a holistic approach and
not isolation Dewapura said: "Strongly entrenched in the belief that ICT
is the future driving force of socio-economic development, the e-Sri
Lanka initiative was strengthened to have some level of impact in the
lives of all citizens in this country.
The e-Sri Lanka Development project which was started about six years
ago is an integrated e-development programme which looks at developing
the entire ICT landscape in a holistic manner. It does not subscribe to
various ICT development activities carried out in isolation or in a
silo-ed manner, but promotes the interlinked integrated development of
the entire ICT sphere".
The e-Sri Lanka initiative in this holistic perspective includes ICT
infrastructure projects including access, Re-engineering Government
projects - which includes re-forming government processes and automating
them, ICT Human Resource Development, ICT Industry growth, Societal ICT
applications for rural communities, e-Leadership and Industrial capacity
building. All these components are intrinsically linked and are
interdependent. All have to succeed equally well to achieve the ultimate
objectives; failure in one component will significantly dilute the
success of others.
Elaborating on the success story of e-Sri Lanka that ushered in the
revolutionary transformation through ICT the ICTA CEO said: "This
pioneering e-Sri Lanka initiative has resulted in major and numerous
achievements and success in the field of ICT in Sri Lanka. And there is
one indicator that captures these successes in a nutshell. Sri Lanka's
ranking in the NRI or Networked Readiness Index, which is measured by
the World Economic Forum and published in its Global Information
Technology Report, (and which measures the ICT Readiness of Countries :
Year-on-year), Sri Lanka's ranking in this NRI, has gone up
significantly in the last five or six years. As a percentage position it
has gone up from 72 to 48.
Speaking further about the success story Dewapura went on to say"The
World Economic Forum which is the publisher of the NRI, in its Global
Information Technology Report of 2010/2011, has commented that in the
last five years, Sri Lanka has the fifth biggest improvement in the NRI,
and hence the fifth best development in the ICT sector in the world.
"This as I said is in a nutshell, what we have achieved in the last five
years, and indeed achievements that everyone involved in the ICT sector
of this country should be proud of," he said.
Going into some of the details of the success story of transformation
through ICT the ICTA CEO added: "If we look into details of the
progress, that has got us to this stage in the last five to six years,
many activities take the limelight. Our ICT literacy rate has moved from
a mere 4 percent to 30 percent.
There has been tremendous development in the ICT and BPO industry,
with about 26 percent year on year growth. A number of innovative
projects have been completed in government (LGN, Lanka Gate, GIC, BMD,
e-DS, e-Pensions, e-Civil Registration and e-RL etc.).
"ICT access has been greatly increased with the establishment of the
acclaimed Nenasala network or tele-centres (with over 600 centres in
operation). And over 150 ICT based community projects have helped and
continues to help rural and disadvantaged communities on regular basis.
So a huge amount of work has already been done. However, we are aware
that much more needs to be done in the same spirit and with the same
determination to ultimately to where we went," Devapura said.