By Cassandra Mascarenhas
The Federation of Information Technology Industry of Sri Lanka (FITIS) which acts as an umbrella organisation in Sri Lanka’s IT industry with over 150 companies under it announced its incorporation under an Act of Parliament in the near future which would endow them with the ability to play a much more vital role in the booming industry.
Addressing the gathering at a FITIS meeting, the Director of the Gateway Group of Organisations Dr. Harsha Alles chided the industry for their lack of participation and urged them to bring in global best practices and adapt them to suit the Sri Lankan IT climate.
The organisation since its initiation has attempted to incorporate itself in many different sectors, both private and public, in order to increase IT literacy and usage in the country. It is best known for organising the ‘Infotel’ exhibitions which have continued to draw ever-increasing crowds year after year and attracted a record breaking 40,000 attendees this year. FITIS hopes to increase this number to 60,000 to 70,000 in the following year with more participation from the private sector organisations. They also held mini-exhibitions in Kurunegala and Jaffna and received an exceptionally high turnout.
“FITIS has participated in very important activities over the past years including the training of 750 ex-LTTE cadres as an initiative of our training sector. We have also worked very closely with the presidential taskforce and with schools. Incorporating FITIS under an Act of Parliament will allow is to really contribute to the development of the industry,” said Alles.
Country Business Manager Intel EM Ltd. Sri Lanka Indika de Zoysa also speaking at the meeting discussed Intel’s role in meeting the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) via connectivity through technology, in turn enhancing and developing the lives of the people.
“It’s not just about using ICT but instead how we can use it to make an impact on peoples’ lives,” he stated. “Sri Lanka in comparison is far ahead of the rest of the region as we have moved in and even dived into 4G. The budget has also supported this greatly by making all telecommunication equipment tax free. We are working closely with many companies as well as the Government to keep bringing in new technology into the country,” de Zoysa said.
He went on to speak about Intel’s work in Sri Lanka which includes the training of over 25,000 teachers where subject teachers are taught to use a PC as a tool to enhance their teaching in the classroom. In line with this, Intel is looking to introduce subsidised PCs for students, teachers and government servants and is attempting to bring down the costs of devices needed to access ICT, i.e. laptops, smartphones etc. They are also working closely with the Government and policy makers at the moment in order to develop the telecommunications infrastructure which in turn could be used to develop data communication.