ICTA, Sarvodaya and LIRNEasia on pro-poor e-governance

Posted on August 20, 2007  /  0 Comments

The Regional Development Dialogue, published by the UN Centre for Regional Development, in its most recent issue (volume 27(2), Autumn 2006, published in August 2007?!) carries two articles by Shoban Rainford, then at ICTA, and Harsha Liyanage, Sarvodaya  on e Sri Lanka and the telecenter component within e Sri Lanka.   In an invited comment, LIRNEasia‘s Rohan Samarajiva and Helani Galpaya,  identify the e Sri Lanka  initiative’s 1919 Government Information Center as  a good example of  pro-poor e-governance, because the information is available through the telephone, a technology that is more easily accessible to the poor than the Internet and telecenters.

The special issue is edited by Subash Bhatnagar, an acknowledged expert on e government who provides a good summary, marred unfortunately by the use of wrong data in Table 1 (p. xvi), where

  • the per capita income in USD for India is given as 3,100; Pakistan as 2,200 and Sri Lanka as 4,000 (obviously calculated on a PPP basis, but this has to be stated; year not given);
  • “Telecom penetration percentage” is given as India 4.63; Pakistan 2.66 and Sri Lanka 4.42 (without specifying that this is only fixed phones and giving a year, which is extremely important in this fast growing field.  Not including mobiles in this day and age is a serious error); and
  • No source is given for the data (or dates)

The special issue also carries an article by Erwin Alampay, a colleague associated with LIRNEasia and a comment by Emmanuel C. Lallana, the keynote speaker at CPRsouth1 in Manila, in January 2007.

The article itself is not on web, but is likely to be placed on the web at some time in the future, aligned possibly with the lag between publishing in August 2007 a journal issue for Autumn 2006.   We received the invitation to write and responded without delay in 2007, so we’re really confused.

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