Asian countries slide e-government rankings

Posted on January 14, 2008  /  32 Comments

A United Nations survey of global e-government readiness has found that many Asian countries are sliding down the rankings. Just one Asian country—South Korea—made the top ten coming in at sixth, with Japan next on 11th.  

The next highest was Singapore at a surprisingly low 23rd, and Malaysia at 34th. The top 35 countries are otherwise dominated by Europe, Australasia and North America. 

The biggest revelation was that most Asian countries are sliding down the rankings.
Singapore was the most prominent to fall from grace, falling to 22nd from seventh position in 2005. China fell to 65 from 57, India from 87 to 113, Thailand from 46 to 62, the Philippines from 41 to 66 and Indonesia from 96 to 106.  

Other countries to slide included Maldives, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Brunei and Myanmar while Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia improved their rankings. Sweden topped the rankings followed by Denmark, Norway and the United States. Read more.


  1. I am surprised to hear that Sri Lanka has improved its ranks because we have hardly done anything on e-gov yet. ICTA talks talks and talks but very little have been achieved.

    Recently I have visited a District Secretariat in Southern province and I have been able to test the ‘progress’ of the LGN first hand. The officers working there complain nothing had happened other than dumping few computers by ICTA. They are totally unsatisfied about the service they receive. They have never taken any IP based calls. The Samsung PCs given to them also giving many technical problems and the maintenance has become a big issue. It is taking so many days for repairs. Very poor service it seems.

    Sinhala fonts also do not work in these PCs sometimes, so secretaries are using the good old type writers. So giving these PCs to them had not resulted in any improvement of their work and no service is provided to the people using these PCs. What is the use of spending so much money of the secretaries have to use typewriters?

    I will be grateful if an ICTA officer explains why this project failed. I can provide more information if necessary.

    Susantha Koralage

  2. The meaning of “slide” is slide down; decrease in performance; go down in rankings.

  3. Dear Koralage,

    Mr Donald will say, “I told you so.”

  4. Dear Susantha

    Thanks for the correct comments that you made. We have predicted over a year ago that these thing would happen. More to come. It has been proved by UNICODE CONSORTIUM that the proposed SLSI 1134 and sinhala encoding is only good for type writer

    I need more people to voice these facts to open the eyes of the public
    Then I can correct Sinhala usage and put it on proper rails

    I quote again and again from UNICODE CONSORTIUM.

    Quote from unicode

    “There is a standard extant for Sinhala described in A Standard Code for
    Information Interchange in Sinhalese by V.K. Samaranayake and S.T. Nandasara
    (ISO-IEC JTC1/SCL/WG2 N 673, Oct. 1990). The coding proposed in it was found
    to be an inadequate basis for a modern, computer-based interchange code,
    though it is adequate to handle the capabilities of a Sinhala typewriter for
    representing contemporary colloquial Sinhala. ”

    Read more on these links given below

    Donald Gaminitillake

  5. Ability to work in local languages is extremely important at the provincial level. So if the provided equipment do not support local languages there is absolutely no use of them.

    The APRC proposals presented to the Hon. President has this clause.

    4.2 There are many contexts in which remedial measures will assume an administrative, rather than a legislative, character.

    The following are instances of measures which should be strenuously accelerated and implemented by the Government.

    (b) the taking of all steps, including recruitment of staff and procurement of equipment to enable Tamil speaking members of the public to deal with Ministries, Government Departments, statutory corporations and all other public bodies in their own language

    So whatever the equipment given to Provincial councils should support Tamil language too. I do not know whether any one has thought about that this being Sri Lanka.

  6. Dear Senadeera

    ONLY I have given the proposal and it is voiced in my web

    Only I have the solution to work equally in all 3 languages across all platforms.

    BUT nobody listen or talk or give any other alternative correct format

    Please voice these facts in Sinhala and in Sri Lanka media

    Donald Gaminitillake

  7. I am surprised to see this being given as the first goal of LGN, in ICTA site.

    1. To establish and operate a central LGN hub to provide Internet, Email and IP based voice services to all GOSL organizations.

    As far as I know providing VOIP services in Sri Lanka is illegal. So how come ICTA openly provides IP based voice services? Has it got a license from TRC for that?

  8. BTW, for those who are interested these are the goals and objectives of LGN, as provided by ICTA.

    Primary goals of LGN:

    1. To establish and operate a central LGN hub to provide Internet, Email and IP based voice services to all GOSL organizations.

    2. To connect 325 government organizations nationwide to the central LGN hub.

    3. To provide appropriate hardware and networking facilities to GOSL organizations.

    4. To provide broadband connectivity to GOSL organizations to create a GOSL IP backbone.

    5. To provide centrally managed Internet access to GOSL organizations.

    6. To provide centrally managed email access (with web based email access) to all GOSL organizations.

    7. To provide a centrally managed and trusted secure connection to authorized agencies that are outside of the purview of the GOSL

    8. To provide a basic training to users on the usage of internet, email and IP based voice services.

    9. To provide helpdesk facility to LGN users.

    10. To provide desk side support to all GOSL organizations connected to LGN.

    Objectives of LGN:

    1. Secure Communication – to facilitate a secure communications network among government organizations in Sri Lanka.

    2. Centralized Control – to provide centralized control and management of the network, thus reducing administration and support at agency sites.

    3. Single Point of Entry – to provide a secure single point of entry/exit to the Internet for all government users.

    4. Email – to provide a centralized government-wide secure electronic mail system with a secure web based email access.

    5. Multi-lingual support – enabling to communicate and understand each other effectively within and across multi-lingual environments and support constituents with diverse language requirements. It s hould support ICTA approved Unicode fonts for local languages and should be supported by the Tri-Lingual key board (supporting SLS 1134 Revision 2 for Sinhala and Renganathan for Tamil).

    6. Adoption of open-interoperability standards – to ensure interoperability between systems regardless of their platform, technology or vendor.

    7. VPN – to provide a VPN gateway for trusted users to access the government network from the Internet.

    8. To allow incremental coverage of the government agencies via a flexible and extensible network design.

    9. To provide centralized Helpdesk and Desktop supports for all government agencies.

  9. Could Tata provide the legal basis for claiming that provision of VOIP within Sri Lanka is illegal?

    According to the EGO (international) licenses, all incoming traffic must be converted to circuit-switched form when being handed over to local licensed operators. So one could argue that running end-to end VOIP internationally without going through licensed gateways could be illegal.

    But within the country? Within a closed-user group? Or even within the public network, if the interconnection difficulties can be surmounted? Within a single operators network, where interconnection issues do not apply?

    Operators are licensed to carry voice communication. Does not specify the technology.

  10. Please note that the importer of Nikon camaras to Sri Lanka had to return the shipment becuse the Camera s contain a wi-fi

    “Nikon Coolpix S6 Wi-Fi ”

    If this is the case all computers into sri lanka has to be sold or import without wifi !!!!!!!

    Donald Gaminitillake

  11. Donald,

    Trying some marketing???? You failed the discussion about language issue and now re-emerging on LNG. What have you got to do in LGN? LGN is run by an expert. You don’t worry about anything. Wait and see what happens within next 2 years. You are history.

  12. I just mentioned about wi-fi camera, This was sent back
    What about wi-fi enable computers, phones etc
    Also about TATA’s VOIP?

    We have a separate place to discuss the language.

    I am happy that you guys nick named me as Donald Duck
    Do you know the character of a DUCK?


    Donald Gaminitillake

  13. Please sirs, let me add my own experience regarding networking government institutions in Sri Lanka and providing IP phones, but for obvious reasons wish to remain anonymous.

    I am an equivalent of an IT manager in a key government organization. ICT Agency calls us CIOs, Chief Information Officers or Chief Innovative Officers. I think this praise is to make us happy, so we do not complain, but I am not going to take that bait.

    I remember we had a CIO meeting at a five star hotel sometime back and ICT Agency officers told us we would be given IP phones. I suggested why not we use Skype (we have been doing it for sometime within organization) and why we need ‘phones’. All we need is a Rs. 1,000 at Unity plaza and skype is free. (In some government institutions getting that too is a problem, but at least we are lucky because my boss understands the value of ICTs)

    However, Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya and somebody called Mr. Ananda from ICT Agency said the IP phones and not just IP phones, they are more ‘real phones’. You will not see the difference. For example, they said these phones will be given a toll free number and they can be used to connect any phone (land or cell phone) not just to take calls within the network.

    Then I asked how they could provide such arrangement when some cell phone providers even charge for incoming. If the line is free of charge who pays that part of the bill? To this Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya told they will discuss with TRC and make arrangements.

    Mr. Wasantha and Mr. Ananda also told that the idea of providing these phones is to cut down the massive telephones bills of the government institutions, and make it easier for us to take phone calls.

    However, after all these empty promises now I find all they have given is so called ‘IP phones’ that can only be used within the network. They are not given any numbers. We can use them just the way we use skype. So what’s the big deal? What is new?

    There are very few IP phone – IP phone calls. Most of the times we get and we want to dial other numbers. (Land and mobile) We still have to pay for the calls we have to take outside the government network. In my case over 90% of the calls we take are to outside. But we cannot use this type of phones for the purpose. So that will not reduce any phone bill in any government organization.

    On top of the Mr. Wasantha also promised that ICT Agency will provide funds to train IT officers in government organizations foreign training, but it has never happened. Our training budgets are limited and we get only few opportunities to enhance our knowledge even if we like.

    Mr. Wasantha and Mr. Ananda, Why do you give false promises if you cannot deliver?

    You can fool some people for some time but you cannot fool all for all the time.

  14. Rajapakse, what is your problem? Are you pissed off about IP phones or ICTA not providing you foreign training? I think it is the latter.

    Grow up man, why you waste your time in government? If you want a proper career join private sector and stop ranting.

  15. Dear Rajapaksha

    What type of training you need?

    Any thing to with computer graphics presentations, 3 D animation, Photojournalism, (QCD) Quality Cost Delivery of printed materials, Hardware training, web designing,

    Call me and come over, I will train your staff up to craft man level (NVQ4) in SriLanka.

    It is under the Ministry of Vocational training , Ingrin Institute 290 DR Wijewardena Mawatha

    Donald Gaminitillake

  16. Ajantha, you do not have to tell me about my career. I will look after that.

    My concern is ICT Agency has wasted so much of our time in its workshops and meetings and we have not got anything in return. Getting ten computers is not a big deal. We do not need ICT Agency to find 10 PCs. What happened to all technological marvels they promised us?

    I hope at least in future ICT Agency will not use us to run errands for them.

    Mr. Donald, Thank you I will let you know the information in detail, if you can provide me your e-mail address.

  17. Sir

    my email is

    Donald Gaminitillake
    “I set the standard”

  18. Dear Mr Rajapaksha

    Technical and Vocational Education and Training Guide for 2008 has been published.

    This book contains all available courses from agriculture livestock , Aviation, Computer, Electrical, Gem and Jewellery, Foot ware, office management, printing, textile teacher training, Wood related etc etc

    Please contact
    Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission
    354/2 Nipunatha Piyasa
    Colombo 5


    Donald Gaminitillake
    “I set the standard”

  19. So much for the “re-engineering government” project.

    UNDP funded Parliament IT project in fresh controversy
    Expert committee rejects AG’s report
    by Shamindra Ferdinando

    Controversy over the Auditor General’s damming report on UNDP funded IT projects in Parliament has taken a new turn with an IT Expert Panel appointed by the ICTA (Information and Communication Technology Agency) strongly disputing the audit findings.

    The ICTA had been the consultants to the project.

    The ten-member panel, in its 18-page report has pointed out that there was no basis for AG’s report which faulted both the House administration and UNDP for glaring shortcomings in the multi million USD project launched after the Oslo-brokered CFA came into operation in February 2002.

    The panel comprised Dr. Ajith Madurapperuma (Senior Lecturer, University of Moratuwa), Prof. Gihan V. Dias (Senior Lecturer, University of Moratuwa), Dr. Prasad Wimalaratne (Senior Lecturer, University of Colombo) Wasantha Deshapriya (Director, Re-Engineering Government, ICTA) Ms. Thusha Mukunthan (e-Parliament Project, ICTA), Rajiv Ranjan (ICT for Development Advisor, UNDP), Mahesh Perera (Director Information System Management, Parliament, Buddhika Nawagamua (Systems Engineer, Parliament) and K.O.D.D. Fernando (Deputy General Manager-IT, Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau) and Thushara Suraweera (Assistant Secretary, Presidential Secretariat).

    The panelists said that the AG’s report based on the audit carried out by Eidikos Lanka (Pvt) Limited lacked clarity, contained inaccuracies and failed to meet its own objectives.

    Authoritative sources said that the appointment of the IT Expert Panel was made on a request made by a Parliamentary Select Committee headed by Geethanjana Gunawardene, Deputy Speaker. Sources said the PSC which was tasked with exploring ways and means of maintaining and improving standards of the House scrutinised the AG’s findings.

    Sources asserted that there couldn’t be a similar case where the Auditor General’s findings had been dismissed. The sources said that on the basis of the ‘new findings’ the House wouldn’t be required to act on the AG’s report.

    The panel has held that the AG’s report failed to identify the progress of the UNDP funded IT projects. It also accused the AG of ‘misrepresenting the situation with inaccurate and misleading comments.’

    Expressing its full confidence in the project, the panel, in its report dated December 27, 2007 has recommended the continuation of the project without delay. “We are of the view that the comments and substance of the audit report didn’t warrant or justify any substantial deviation from the strategy or specifications already evolved in this regard,” the panel has said while calling for the setting up of what it called a rightful authority to carry forward the strategy speedily.

    Subsequently, the outgoing Secretary General Mrs. Priyanee Wijesekera, who had been the Project Director of the grandiose project, delegated authority to her Deputy Dhammika Dassanayake. Although the Secretary General had been in overall in charge of the project, the second-in-command had been responsible for the implementation, the sources said.

    In fact, Mrs. Wijesekera, in response to the ‘Draft Interim Audit Report’ sent to her in last June, fired back a letter to the Auditor General denying her involvement in the project. She emphasised that she wouldn’t take responsibility for the IT budget revision and implementation of the IT component of the UNDP funded project.

    Following the rejection of the audit findings, the UNDP had signalled that it would agree to go ahead with the project. Earlier, the agency said that it would pull out of the project. Well informed sources said that subsequent to UNDP warning, the House had sought financial backing from an international lending agency.

    The panel has strongly disputed the AG’s decision to employ Eidikos Lanka (Pvt) Limited to carry out the audit , on which his final report dated November 7, 2007 was based. The panelists said, “Firstly we bring it to the notice of the committee [PSC] that Eidikos Lanka (Pvt) limited which was chosen to do the audit by the AG Department consisted of a set of former employees of Ernest and Young, who were the consultants responsible for the system study, prepared the ICT Strategic Plan and developed the bid documents for Parliament.” In an unprecedented attack on the AG, the panel said that they shouldn’t have been allowed to audit the project under any circumstances. “It is very unfortunate that AG has appointed and delegated the IT audit to a group of individuals who may not be neutral. This is a conflict of interest.”

    The panel also accused the AG of turning a blind eye to clarifications provided by Parliament, ICTA and UNDP to the ‘Draft Interim Audit Report’ sent to Parliament in the second week of last June.

  20. I was sad to see this report in ‘The Island’ lead news for three reasons.

    1. A VIP politician is setting an extremely bad precedent. – This is akin to challenge the decision of the umpire in a cricket match.

    2. A set of IT professionals are used to do the dirty job. (Not for the first time) In fact some of them have serious clashes of interests, because they are the same people who made the mess in the first place!

    3. Nobody makes even a slightest noise about this purely unethical act. Are we so tolerant about these unethical acts?

    When it was designed ICTA was given a clout to make things happening faster and to avoid any political interventions interrupting what it was supposed to do.

    What nobody had envisaged is what would have happened if a highly corrupted politician is made in charge of ICTA. (I think nobody thought of that possibility then. They might have assumed it would be always under people Milinda Moragoda and Tissa Witharana, though ineffective not super corrupted) But the unexpected had happened. So now the same clout is being used to do the very things, which it was supposed to prevent.

    This is the fourth major example.

    First is procuring VSAT links for a well known SLFP financial supporter for a cost of Rs. 90 mil.

    Second is appointment of a nominal CEO out of the interview process and pay him a hefty ‘compensation’ package though he does no work at all.

    Third is to grant a 15 mil US project to a Korean firm that has not even complied with mandatory tender requirements.

    What more we can expect?

    Where is the transparency the ICTs supposed to bring?

  21. When he was at public service Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya was known for his honesty and integrity, though not everybody found him efficient.

    I am sad to see after joining ICTA he has compromised that.

    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  22. Who gives character certificates for these people? It was not long ago such a highly placed figure was reduced to rubbles with the courtesy of Sunday Leader, Rawaya, etc. Wasantha Deshapriya is no god. Do not make him one. People are honest as long as they don’t get a chance to touch big moneys. Their integrity can be questioned only when they are exposed to few lucrative deals. Wait and see what happens to Wasantha Deshapriya in next few months.

  23. Shilpa Sayura is one of the best projects ICTA has ever funded. Even now Shilpa Sayura is helping thousands of young rural students who do not have enough facilities at their own schools to follow lessons in English, Maths and Science, among other subjects in Shilpa Sayura.

    Shilpa Sayura has brought glory to our dear motherland by wining international level awards in India and Malaysia. No other project has brought such honor to Sri Lanka before.

    However Shilpa Sayura has been installed only in limited number of Nenasalas. ICTA should take immediate stapes to install that in all Nenasalas and thus help poor students to continue their studies. This should be taken as a key priority of the moment. ICTA should not let Shilpa Sayura to die.

    Why ICTA cannot make Shilpa Sayura a part of its e-government program and support it in future? I think if it does it will be good for the country.

  24. Shilpa Sayura is a good project except for the language issue and the contents

    Contents has to be develop by people with professional qualifications to handle children’s education and the children has to be thought the correct Sinhala Language with accepted Sinhala characters.

    Since these two issues are not addressed it has to be corrected or scrap before country fall into another educational turmoil

    Donald Gaminitillake
    I set the standard

  25. Hi Hi Hi
    I collect the money but Wasantha gets the blame
    That is fair because his brother critisies me for war

    ICT project is my gold mine
    It is also Alladins Lamp that give me what I want
    I will treat whoever giving me what I want

    My brother is Mr Ten Percent
    I am Mr Hundred Percent
    My name is Lokuma Loku mama
    Find out me

  26. The IP phones given for Divisional Secretariats under LAKGOV project don’t work!!!! Can Wasantha uncle explain????

  27. Hey i also have a IP Phone and seems not working properly. Can Wasantha uncle repair same? Funny. May be Loku Mama can help.

    Why someone should consider Shilpa Sayura to tech Government officers? Government officers are not School Children who are well educated. Why they need to start again. Is this guy really worried about Shilpa Sayura or Himself? I mean sustainability……

  28. Jayantha Sri Nissanka

    Long live Wassa (Wasantha D) and ICTA

    e-NIC’s another flop, $ 50 Million down the drain

    By Jayantha Sri Nissanka

    The Electronic National Identity Cards (e-NIC) project is poised to be another flop as a two decade- old technology is to be used to produce e-NICs.
    The e-NICs produced under this technology can be easily forged and the Government will waste five billion rupees (US$ 50 million) on this project, some of the foreign bidders told LAKBIMAnEWS.
    The Tender document which was given to bidders last Friday (28/03/08) does not ask bidders to manufacture e-NIC with the latest available technology in the world to avoid forging IDs. Instead page 172 of the Tender document has specified “PDF 417-Two Dimensional Barcode (TDB)” technology .
    The Government is planning to issue 12 million e-NICs in seven years.
    Industry experts warned that any organisation like the LTTE could easily forge e-NICs as they can obtain all the information of any e-NIC from an Optical reader, which is available in the open market for US $ 1000. When asked what was the safest way of producing e-NICs, they said that the latest technology is the SMART card or the Micro Computer Chip Card or the Integrated Circuit Card (ICC). When asked about the cost difference of the TDB cards and SMART Cards, these sources said “if the TDB card costs one dollar, the SMART Card will cost two dollars. But going with the SMART card is the best and the safest way as SMART Cards have zero possibility as far as forging is concerned.”
    Other informed sources alleged that the Tender has been designed to provide the bid to a German Company.
    The local partner of the German Company was also involved in preparing the technical specifications of the Tender in 2005. The Deputy Controller of Immigration and Emigration, M.N.Ranasinghe who is one of the members in the e-NIC project, declined to comment.

  29. සිංහල යුනිකේතයට එදිරි ව ගිය LIRNEAsia බ්ලොග් සටහන් වල සිංහල යුනිකේතය වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටි සැමට කොපමණ තදින්, අසැබි වදනින් බැණ වැදුනත් අවසානයේ දිනුවේ කුමක් ද, කව්ද? සිංහල යුනිකේතය හා අවංක ව එය වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටි කණ්ඩායම නොවේ ද? අපට අනදාල ව බැන වදින විට අප නිහඬ ව සිටියා, බල්ලෙකු සපා කෑ විට අප ද පෙර ළා සපා නොකන නිසා. අදාල ප්‍රතිපත්තිමය හෝ තාක්‍ෂණික කරුණු මතු වූ විට අප සටන් වැදුනා සිංහල යුනිකේතය වෙනුවෙන්.

    මා කිසිම ආකාරයකින් වූ වාරණයට සහමුලින් ම විරුද්ධ, එය අපේ රටේ ව්‍යවස්ථාවෙනුත් සුරකින භාෂණයේ හා අදහස් ප්‍රකාශ කිරීමේ අයිතිය ට පටහැනි වන නිසයි.

    “දහසක් මත ගැටෙද්දෙන් දහසක් මල් පිපෙද්දෙන්”


  30. Wasantha Mame,

    Oyage unicode ochchara honda nam aluthinma patan gaththa wijaya online pattareth wena font ekak use karanne ey? unicode honda nam anith aya pawichchi karanawane.

  31. Mal mama is truly correct

    Why not increase the TEXT size on firefox and try to read the comment on 30

    Donald Gaminitillake
    I set the standard