E-government ICT and Development- India launches
By Sunil Karunanayake
Our columnist looks at the advantages of e-Government and promoting
the use of IT in schools and villages. During the last two to three
decades Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made
vast strides and dramatically affected the way in which societies
technologies have already had their effects on the operations of
government and it is likely that a greater impact will happen as
the use of such technology becomes more widely accepted. The governments
of many countries now promote and deliver Internet based information
and services to address the needs of business (G2B), citizens (G2C)
and government agencies. The interest in the Internet within the
public sector has been extended from control and regulation to use
and service provision.
timely remarks came from Julian Teicher of the Department of Management
Monash University Australia in a recent lecture delivered at the
Centre for Banking Studies of the Central Bank on "E-Government:
Current Issues and the relationship of the experience of developed
nations to Sri Lanka."
nations such as Australia and the US have invested heavily in the
hardware and software necessary for such transformation. The Australian
federal government spends about $3.5 billion on ICT annually. ICT
plays a key role in the fast emerging knowledge economy today through
Internet knowledge which is within access of many where telecommunication
facilities are available.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressing the Asia Society's Asian
Corporate Conference said that Bangalore, the Indian silicone valley,
symbolized the arrival of India on the global stage in the knowledge
economy. Global companies hired Indian professionals to secure global
markets. Dr Singh further said countries that made good use of Indian
talent benefited and remained competitive. Products of the Indian
Information Technology Industry offered a range of services that
have found growing markets worldwide.
India's impressive performance supported by the ICT the Prime Minister
is hopeful that the present 8% growth will rise to 9 to 10% in the
next two years. This comes in the wake of improved savings rate
of 29% of GDP and investment rate of 31% GDP. These platforms no
doubt will attract more foreign direct investment.
his address at the launch of the Knowledge Commission, the Indian
Premier noted that youth would be an asset only if a nation invests
in their capabilities while stating that India is now to set to
embark on a "Second wave of Institution building."
further on the much spoken "Knowledge Century" in the
21st century, Dr Singh elaborated that this concept implies it is
not military or economic power that will in fact determine a nation's
place in the world now in the making but its brain power.
Lanka has been living through the 5 to 6% growth regime during the
best of times in the past few decades. This is neither sufficient
to provide employment nor to move further from a middle income level
country. A shift of paradign is a necessity. The Information and
Communications Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka is the government
body responsible for implementing the e- Sri Lanka development initiative.
now working directly under the President's office is the apex body
involved in ICT policy, direction and development for the nation.
E-Sri Lanka is a stakeholder led, multi-donor funded national development
initiative with the objectives of using ICT to alleviate poverty,
promote growth and foster social integration and peace. In living
in a knowledge economy, information means everything. ICTA acknowledges
that if rural areas are not empowered by denying access to information
conflicts will broaden leading to conflicts.
In India it's publicly said that gone are the days of the "Bombay
is now working through identified initiatives to accelerate the
growth of the knowledge economy. Some of the major moves are the
establishment of Regional Telecommunications networks (RTN) to provide
linkages between the northeast and the deep south where youth unrest
and economic hardships have led to serious conflicts causing heavy
styled Vishwa Gnana Kendras (VGK) within these two centres will
be established to provide relevant information on agriculture, weather
and education, etc.
must move rapidly within the public sector to provide the kick start
for accelerated growth. Public institutions like Post Offices, District
secretaries, land registries, revenue collecting agencies and Police
stations must necessarily be strengthened with IT support to serve
the public more efficiently and expeditiously. These are the extra
catalysts that could provide potential for growth as well as reduction
of poverty leading to a conflict free society.
the resourceful manpower base Sri Lanka must follow the Indian example
of making education institutions seats of world- class learning.
The introduction of IT to GCE O/L and A/L is praiseworthy but the
schools must move with enthusiasm to reap the benefits of such measures.
Setting up of universities in the under developed Uva-Wellassa and
Eastern province are now paying dividends. Empowering the youth
with capacity & modernizing the public sector with ITC should
be our direction in the "Knowledge Century"