ICTA focuses on making more eServices accessible to the poorest

Monday, 5 September 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Dedicated to bringing the dividends of ICT to every citizen, ICTA gives top priority to making more and e-Services accessible to the poorest, says ICTA Re-engineering Govt. Programme Director Wasantha Deshapriya.

Deshapriya said so during a presentation at the National IT conference 2011 held in Colombo recently.  

Elaborating on the subject under the title “Sri Lankan e-Government picture; where is the bottom of the pyramid (BoP)?”

Deshapriya stated  ICTA’s measures were aimed t solving it. With the aid of statistics the ICTA Re-engineering Government Programme Director made the large audience including IT experts alive to the pressing status quo of the poorest.


If we consider the population of Sri Lanka as a pyramid, 23 per cent of the people are at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) (Department of Census and Statistics). The individual monthly income  of Bop was below the poverty line which was accepted to be Rs. 3400. Ten per cent of the population of Sri Lanka has no internet facilities while 12 per cent have no computers.  Seventy-five per cent are ICT illiterate.

Having given the picture of the BoP, Deshapriya went on to place before the what ICTA has done and was in the process of doing to arrest the problem and improve the quality of life of the poorest.   

Speaking about solutions to the problem Deshapriya opened the up the rays of hope: “Telephone penetration is breaking all barriers with 12,000,000 recorded as early as 2009 and becoming a tool even for BoP to improve their quality of life”

“We are doing a Proof of Concept (PoC) to utilise the popularity of GIC and mobile payments to provide “Transactional Services” to BoP”, Deshapriya said giving a glimpse of what great things were in store for the BoP in the Sri Lankan e-Government picture

Parallel to the massive mobile phone penetration, Deshapriya pointed out that (Government Information Centre) GIC  [1919] receives over 1 mn calls per year from citizens to get informational service as proved by  1200000 calls recorded in 2010.

GIC has already begun to bridge the gap by becoming  a “Digital Intermediary” to provide ‘Emerging Information Services” and  Interactive Information Services” to BoP.

Train Schedule and Foreign job opportunities are two services which have the highest demand so far. This information is available in the web as well as  through GN.SMS.

So GIC gets more calls for these two services, Deshapriya underlined

Corroborating his eye-opening disclosures Deshapriya  gave the following data  with regard to the  Web vs SMS vs Voice calls for June 2011:-

More and more interactive information services are being added to GIC every day.

The projects ICTA has initiated for making public service more people-friendly fall into two major categories. They are enabler projects and e-Services projects. Among the enabler projects are (a) Lanka Government Network with 475 organisations already connected ( b) Lanka Gate and Country Portal which provides ‘all-in-one’ platform for  offering e-services through a complete free and open source set-up including Credit Card Gateway, SMS Gateway and Lanka Interoperability Exchange (c)  ICT Human Resource Development  with 14,027 already  equipped with General and 959 endowed with Management and Technical  ICT skills and 150 MBAs in e-Government and (e) Policy and standards  which is concerned with the e-Government policy, Lanka Interoperability standards, LIFE (Lanka Interoperability Framework and Sri Lanka Web standards (www.emathumozhihal.lk).

 Among the e-Service projects are  (1) Informational e-Services  with the flagship project Government Information Centre (GIC) [1919] , (2) Interactive e-Services which includes ‘Find your Government Officer’, Train schedule, Foreign Employment Opportunities, and Crop Prices e-Services (3) Transactional  e-Services including utility payments and ‘Visa online’ and (4) Connected Government e-Services in which category the most popular e-Sevice is the e-Revenue Licence e-Service which enables a person to get the revenue licence of his vehicle without the hassle of physically visiting the relevant office(s). Currently this service has entailed cooperation with 40 Divisional Secretariats the Central DMT, Provincial DMT, 12 Insurance Companies, and Two Emission Testing Companies.

The concept of E-service (short for electronic service), represents one prominent application of utilising the use of Information and communication technologies (ICTs) in different areas. All agree about the role of technology in facilitating the delivery of services which make them more of electronic services.

Such e-service includes the service element of e-tailing, customer support, and service delivery”. This definition reflect three main components — service provider, service receiver and the channels of service delivery (i.e., technology). For example, as concerned to public e-service, public agencies are the service provider and citizens as well as businesses are the service receiver. The channel of service delivery is the third requirement of e-service. Internet is the main channel of e-service delivery while other classic channels (e.g. telephone, call center, public kiosk, mobile phone, television) are also considered.

Web vs SMS vs Voice Calls for June, 2011

Web hits                                   SMS   GIC            calls

Railway schedule                   456    30              10947

Foreign employment             315    No SMS    5646

ID card  applicationStatus    274    3402          No service