Sri Lanka to give priority to mobile in delivery of government services

Posted on June 1, 2013  /  0 Comments

Several Sinhala newspapers and webpapers have reported that the government will henceforth give priority to delivering e gov services over mobile interfaces. I assume the English media will pick up this story in due course.

This is good news for a country where mobiles are ubiquitous, but conventional desktop computer use is not. We at LIRNEasia have been hammering home the message that mobile must be given priority based on our Teleuse@BOP survey research since 2005. Specifically, this was a key message in the 2011 and 2012 Future Gov conferences in Colombo. These are the apex e gov conferences in Sri Lanka and are co-organized by the ICT Agency. In addition, this message was communicated by Senior Research Manager Ayesha Zainudeen when she spoke at the UNESCAP Expert Meeting in Colombo in 2012, hosted by the ICT Agency. It featured large in the resulting news coverage.

We know, of course, that there are many forces that play out in policy influence. But we are content that we played a productive, if small, role in shifting thinking on how best to deliver e government services.

I have not been able to locate the actual text of the new policy. But, in Sri Lanka, what is more important that the language of the policy document is how it is implemented. Sri Lanka has not yet adopted an open data policy, which is another message we have been reiterating. We await both the adoption of open data policies and effective implementation of the policy of giving priority to mobile.

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