National ICT Agency of Sri Lanka
Set up under the Information and Communication Technology Act, No. 27 of 2003, the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), functioning under the Presidential Secretariat is the apex Government ICT institution, responsible for implementing the e-Sri Lanka Development project, amongst many other pojects. The main thrust of ICTA is in setting ICT policy, guiding and directing national ICT development activities.
Government of Sri Lanka, IDA/ World Bank, Korean EDCF, Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF), Plan International.
This workshop is supposed to be a show-case of the ground breaking e-Sri Lanka Development project, the comprehensive multi-donor led e-development program. The foremost funding source is the World Bank at present and it is the flag-ship and the first e-Development project for IDA/WB.
The e-Sri Lanka uses Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to develop the economy of Sri Lanka, reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of the people.
It includes an integrated six pronged strategy implemented by ICTA, with cross cutting implementation mandate from Government and encompasses building information infrastructure, creating an enabling environment, developing ICT human resources, modernizing government and leveraging ICT for economic and social development.
The shared vision for an e-Sri Lanka, hopes to accomplish:
- e-Society Grant awards to unleash the ICT potential in rural areas
- 550 Nenasalas (tele-centres) by 2008 (to be extended to 1000 by 2010)
- Lanka Government Network, connecting 500 government institutions
- Increasing ICT literacy in Sri Lanka
- A more citizen centric government through the strategic and efficient use of ICT
- Development and growth of the ICT Industry and IT Enables Services
- Ensuring Local language support for ICT
- Creating a proactive institutional, policy and regulatory environment supportive of ICT development [ICT policy for Government, National ICT policy, e-Transactions Act, Computer Crimes Act and Code of Practice for Data Protection etc]
The immense amount of work carried out in all of the aforesaid areas have already resulted in a 400+ Nenasala network, provided e-Society grant awards resulting in a myriad of rural projects, the e-SL PC (low cost affordable PC), a Government Information Centre [tri-lingual], a national ICT literacy initiative, ICT Capacity Building Programme [ICBP], 4 Distance & e-Learning Centres, Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team - CERT (centre of cyber security in Sri Lanka), the development of Legislation on Electronic Transactions and many more.
A recent review of the e-Sri Lanka development project by a WB supervisory mission had the following observations.
"Amidst many difficulties, the e-Sri Lanka programme is achieving good progress, moving ahead slowly but steadily. The Nenasala programme has established more than 400 telecentres against its original target of 200 showing exceptional performance levels. While commending the creation of the Nenasala brand, the team was also impressed that the start-up cost of these centres have been kept way below the global average for telecentres.
The report also commended the e-Society grants awarding scheme stating that it has benefited many a rural villager and the myriad projects under this programme area have gained not only local recognition but international as well. The fact that projects under the e-Society programme are being made available to citizens via ICTAs Nenasala network is exemplary.
Under the E-Leadership component, ICTA has further strengthened its efforts towards building a strong legal framework for ICT development in Sri Lanka through the e-Transactions Act, taking into consideration the new standards and global legal environment. The recent enactment of the Computer Crimes Act No. 24 of 2007 and the strengthening of supporting institutions in this regard by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka displays its tireless commitment towards e-Sri Lanka.
Touching on the Re-engineering Government programme, the WB states that it is by far the largest and most complex component, and has made progress in certain areas.
The development of human resources in the country via the ICT HR Capacity Building Programme and ICT Investment and Private Sector Development Programme have benefited the local private sector greatly, including the small and medium enterprises as well
UNQUOTE - Source - Daily Mirror (FT) - 1st November 2007
The e-Sri Lanka Project has also encountered several challanges. Most notable amongst them
- Delays in procuring goods and services and compliance obligations under a variety of rules (GoSL, WB and Korean EDCF etc)
- Managing expectations amongst stake holders
- Project being implemented in a challenging political environment (several successsive governmens have given leadership to the project and sought to prioritize certain areas, but the core development objectives remain unchanged)
- Institutional changes and challenges
Presented By: Reshan Dewapura (Chief Operating Officer, ICTA), & Jayantha Fernando (Program Director & Legal Advisor, ICTA)