Launched in 2002 by the Government of Sri Lanka, the e-Sri Lanka initiative is intended to develop the economy of Sri Lanka, to aid in the reduction of poverty and to improve the quality of life of the Sri Lankan people through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). The e-Sri Lanka plan laid the groundwork for the implementation of the country’s Information and Communication Technology Act, followed by the formation of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) in 2003. The ICTA is the government agency now responsible for the implementation of the e-Sri Lanka project and for the recommendation of appropriate regulatory and policy frameworks for ICT development.
The ICT Agency plans to implement the e-Sri Lanka initiative through a six-pronged strategy which encompasses:
- ICT Leadership and Policy Making Programme: Putting into place the necessary leadership and policy making capabilities
- Information Infrastructure Programme: Building information infrastructure and an enabling environment
- Re-engineering Government Programme: Re-engineering government and delivering citizen services
- ICT Capacity Building Programme: Developing ICT human resources
- ICT Investment and Private Sector Development Programme: Promoting ICT use in the country as well as Sri Lanka’s ICT capabilities to the world
- e-Society Programme: Leveraging ICT for economic and social development in rural communities
January 1, 2002
ICT Leadership and Policy Making Programme
The purpose of this programme is to create a dynamic enabling environment and develop innovative mechanisms for implementing e-Sri Lanka, establish legislative best practice, and build strategic alliances and become a role model for government agencies and departments, private sector and civil society organisations. This will be achieved by facilitating the development and implementation of a National ICT Policy; providing focus and leadership in ICT and mainstreaming ICT for development in all sectors; raising awareness of the benefits derived from ICT use; forging multi-sectoral partnerships on a strategic level to develop ICT; monitoring and evaluating progress and achievements and sharing lessons among partners; learning and utilising best practice in ICT for development; and establishing ICTA as an effective project management centre.
This programme aims “to provide citizen services in the most efficient manner by improving the way government works, by re-engineering and technologically empowering government business processes.” This will be achieved through the use of ICTs to improve the government’s process of service delivery; the development of policy frameworks that improve interoperability to allow government organisations to share data; and the provision of a government-wide intranet to enable the transfer of data to take place. Examples of key citizen services areas to be targeted include ePensions, eForeign Employment, and eCitizen ID. To achieve these objectives, such strategies as providing appropriate ICT training to public sector employees, ensuring that adequate ICT equipment is available, facilitating the collaboration and interconnection of government agencies, and ensuring that public services will be made indiscriminately available to citizens will be carried out.
This programme intends to ensure that all citizens are able to access modern information, communication and electronic services at any time or location to enable them to join the global e-community. This will be achieved through the installation of a modern communication backbone that provides connectivity throughout society and industry; the establishment of a Nenasalas, or Tele Centers, network throughout Sri Lanka that ensures ICT connectivity and access for all citizens; the establishment of a telecommunication regulatory environment conductive to development; the structuring and streamlining of government networks and intranet; and the creation of “a business-friendly ICT policy with a legal framework aligned internationally.”
ICT Human Resources Capacity Building
This programme aims to develop an ICT skilled workforce and an ICT literate society able to leverage the benefits that ICT brings. This will be achieved through training government employees in required ICT competencies to effectively manage e-government; establishing a pool of ICT multi-skilled professionals who can form the basis of an IT Enabled Services (ITES) industry; collaborating with the Ministry of Education to ensure that ICT basic skills training is incorporated into school curriculum; increasing the numbers of ICT undergraduates and promoting higher ICT education at the faculty level; and increasing opportunities for ICT and English training, including through the use of on-line learning, radio and television.
ICT Investment and Private Sector Development
Using ICT to re-engineer local industry and Government, this programme aims to achieve major growth in Sri Lanka’s economy, increase the country’s competitiveness in the global marketplace, and attract foreign investment. Five key strategies have been designed to achieve this aim: the use of local companies to provide ICT services and products for the Re-engineering Government initiative; the promotion of ICT integration into the non-ICT sector, thereby raising awareness of its benefits across all sectors; the promotion of ICT services and products developed locally to global niche markets; and the repositioning of Sri Lanka as a prime ICT destination for foreign investment and niche market emerging technologies.
This programme aims to develop “an empowered Sri Lankan Civil Society actively engaged in creating a digitally advantaged fast developing nation.” This will be achieved through raising awareness about the advantages of ICT within civil society; assisting civil society to increase their involvement in policy-making; working to create ICT4D multi-stakeholder partnerships; increasing stakeholder capacity through the provision of relevant training programmes; and facilitating and funding the innovation of ICT solutions relevant to a local context, in order to encourage socio-economic development.