General


Harsha de Silva & Payal Malik 20 May 6pm PM: specifically looking at subsidy mechanisms for diversification, hence ‘moving beyond the market . Instruments looking at are hte universal service obligation fund (USF) and hte access deficit charge (ADC). There has been a diminishing of market efficiency gap (i.e, efficiency is improving). Slide # 3 shows the major improvements in efficiency in the market.
Samarajiva and Zainudeen had an article published in this issue of E-Gov, the full PDF of which is linked to below. In 2002, the-government of Sri Lanka embarked upon a broad development strategy, with a focus on services. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) were identified as one of the key drivers of national integration and economic growth. The eSri Lanka Initiative (eSL), which was designed in 2002-03, was intended to �take the dividends of ICT to every village, to every citizen, to every business and transform the way Government works � [to] develop Sri Lanka�s economy, alleviate poverty, and improve the quality of life and the opportunities for all of our people� . R.
Activities Report

Industrial policy revisited

Posted on April 28, 2005  /  0 Comments

In the 1980s and 1990s, a debate raged in the US on the question of industrial policy; the proponents arguing that the government should pick sectors and “winners” and the opponents arguing that government bureaucrats were not in a position to do so and that the market should be allowed to take its course. One of the most effective methods of policy argumentation in the US is “we are falling behind [fill in the blank].” Those days, the country that was forging ahead of the US was Japan, in most cases (e.g., Fifth Generation Computing, High Definition Television) .
On being asked to identify what I thought were the key on-the-horizon policy issues, I came up with the following. It would be helpful to have a web discussion on this with the intention of coming up with a ranked list that may include new items. 1. I am even more convinced that the backbone is a critical hole in the original reform thinking. Its significance is highlighted by Korea’s success in broadband and everything ICT.

Choices: LBO Monthly Column

Posted on April 21, 2005  /  0 Comments

Rohan Samarajiva writes a monthly column on Choices for the Lanka Business Online. His second column titled Nanny State (March 15, 200) deals with the controversial 100/200 meter rule that the Sri Lankan government wants to impose on people living along the coast line, preventing them from building houses within 100/200 meters from the sea. The third column is titled BPOs or daha dahasak wewu? (April 20, 2005) discusses the realistic policy choices available to decision-makers for moving the Sri Lankan economy to a high trajectory growth-rate.
NEW DELHI, APRIL 13: The government is in the process of amending the Indian Telegraph Act to extend the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund support to cellular mobile services (both GSM and CDMA). As of today, the government is giving USO fund support to only the fixed line operators offering services in the rural areas. “We are looking at amending the Telegraph Act to accommodate the cellular services and CDMA-based services to reach the rural areas. We are looking at sharing of the passive infrastructure with the cellular service providers,” communications and information technology (C&IT) minister Dayanidhi Maran told reporters. Besides covering the villages, the minister is of the opinion that the wireless services should also provide connectivity to the Railways and highways especially in rural areas.

University links explored

Posted on April 6, 2005  /  0 Comments

On March 7th (I know, this is late; but as they say better late . . ), LIRNEasia had a full day of presentations and meetings at the School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The main presentation by Rohan Samarajiva and Sujata Gamage and the related concept paper may be of interest. Other conversations covered disaster-related and other research collaboration possibilities.

National Early Warning System

Posted on March 7, 2005  /  11 Comments

National Early Warning System: Sri Lanka (NEWS:SL):  A Participatory Concept Paper for the Design of an Effective All-Hazard Public Warning System (Version 2.1) Annexes: A Participatory Concept Paper for the Design of an Effective All-Hazard Public Warning System (Version 2.1)   *Executive Summary*# *The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that claimed the lives of one in 500 of Sri Lanka�s people and displaced one in twenty has highlighted the critical importance of an effective National Early Warning System for Sri Lanka (NEWS:SL)*. Meeting this need, which has been discussed (and forgotten) after each of our too frequent disasters such as the cyclones of 1978 and the floods of 2003, can no longer be postponed. # *Public warning is a system, not a technology*.
By Payal Malik In his budget speech the Finance Minister of India promised a release of Rs. 1,200 crores (USD 275 million) for the Universal Service Fund. While it is heartening that the funds are being released and are not being gobbled by the Contingency Fund of India, what is however disheartening is that competition and liberalisation has not achieved its full potential in bridging the rural urban divde and like in the monopoly era one has to wait for budgetary pronouncements for rural telephony to jumpstart. An extract from his speech: Telecommunication is the best way to provide connectivity in urban and rural India. By the end of January 2005, we had achieved a tele-density of 8.

Colloquium: Virtual Organizations

Posted on February 18, 2005  /  12 Comments

The Virtual Organisation: How do we get there? Divakar: How can we get researchers and participants to engage in LIRNEasia activitites? And sustain these relationships? Money? -this is tough, since we have limited funds Professional development?
Some very important issues on government vs private supply of last-mile access (of the type that will come to the fore in places like Andra) are discussed at: Philly Leads Charge For Wireless (New York Times) Are we ready to discuss anything other than tsunami related stuff?

Monthly column

Posted on February 11, 2005  /  3 Comments

I have agreed to write a column on Choices for Lanka Business Online, starting this month. The first column is up, entitled “Surviving tsunamis: What we can learn from Hawai’i.” Any suggestions, comments, criticisms will be welcome. BTW, a tentative statement in my column (that was written on my flight back from Hawai’i Jan 20-22) has been confirmed: the undersea earthquake responsible for the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is now the second largest recorded earthquake at 9.3 on the Richter scale.

India

Posted on February 4, 2005  /  3 Comments

Mass computing’s next big thing runs into an archaic law that bans outdoor use of Wi-Fi Thakkar RESHMA PATIL & PRAGYA SINGH Posted online: Sunday, February 06, 2005 at 0154 hours IST Indian Express MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, FEB 5: When tech entrepreneur Jayesh Thakkar geared to connect computers—without wires—20 km away in two Vadodara offices, his corporate client first applied for a licence. They have been waiting for a year. At Mumbai, a construction giant is waiting since nine months for permission to wirelessly connect offices in two suburbs. […] ‘‘Most big corporates stay away from outdoor WiFi use because licences are cumbersome and bureaucratic,’’ says Thakkar, director, JayRaj Exim, a company WiFi-enabling offices in Mumbai. ‘‘By the time a licence arrives, what if the technology is outdated?

India

Posted on  /  3 Comments

Mass computing’s next big thing runs into an archaic law that bans outdoor use of Wi-Fi Thakkar RESHMA PATIL & PRAGYA SINGH Posted online: Sunday, February 06, 2005 at 0154 hours IST Indian Express MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, FEB 5: When tech entrepreneur Jayesh Thakkar geared to connect computers—without wires—20 km away in two Vadodara offices, his corporate client first applied for a licence. They have been waiting for a year. At Mumbai, a construction giant is waiting since nine months for permission to wirelessly connect offices in two suburbs. […] ‘‘Most big corporates stay away from outdoor WiFi use because licences are cumbersome and bureaucratic,’’ says Thakkar, director, JayRaj Exim, a company WiFi-enabling offices in Mumbai. ‘‘By the time a licence arrives, what if the technology is outdated?

The Permanent Disaster

Posted on January 30, 2005  /  4 Comments

Here is an interesting article recommended by Nalaka Gunawardene: Four years ago, this magazine’s editor, environmentalist Anil Agarwal, wrote a scathing comment after the Bhuj earthquake: “Disasters come and go but our government has become a permanent disaster”. While we are vulnerable to natural disasters — cyclones, earthquakes, floods or droughts, and now the tsunami — these temporary and preventable disasters turn into massive calamities because of the “perpetual disaster that this country’s governance system has come to represent”. Why? Because earthquakes do not kill, the buildings do. Anil put the question: why, then, do we not build, in areas identified as seismic, earthquake-resistant structures?