I was invited to speak on Social Safety Nets in Sri Lanka on ‘The People’s Platform’ a 45 minute live TV programme on NewsFirst. I drew on LIRNEasia’s research on the area to highlight problems in targeting the poor and the possibility of using bank accounts and mobile technology to deliver benefits to the poor.
The need for cash transfer to ease the inflationary burden faced by Sri Lankans has never been higher. While the monthly amounts paid by the Government are paltry, it will at least provide minor relief to those who need it the most. Therefore, it is welcome news that the World Bank has repurposed previously committed funds to pay for cash transfers.
The keys to understanding the effect of the regulation are the definitions of the word and phrases “rumour,” “false statement,” and “any information or image or message which is likely to cause public alarm, public disorder or racial violence or which is likely to incite the committing of an offence.”
Data protection is considered an esoteric subject, but affects the entirety of the modern economy, ranging from a home-based cake supplier who maintains a list of customers, their preferences and contacts, to a multinational insurance company.
This reportage delineates the impact of the pandemic on income and earning opportunities of men and women in Sri Lanka and India.
The coverage by Sri Lankan media of the COVID+ surveys
The coverage by Indian media of the COVID+ surveys
Science writer Nalaka Gunawardene shares his insights following a forum held in mid-December 2021.
A new survey shows that 85% of enrolled school-aged children had some form of education services during school closures between March and July 2020. While some received educational services through multiple means, 54% of students received information, instructions, notes, or assignments sent to smartphone, tab, or computer, 50% had live lessons delivered over Zoom and other applications (potentially alongside other methods).
A recent national survey conducted by LIRNEasia, a regional policy think tank, showed that 44% of Sri Lanka’s population aged 15 and above were internet users in 2021. Internet use was lower amongst the rural, elderly, less educated and poorer groups.
"Data protection is considered an esoteric subject, but it can have powerful effects in the emerging digital economy. Depending on the success of digitalisation efforts, pretty much every organization may fall within the scope of data protection regulation. Few developing countries have enacted data protection legislation. There may be lessons to be drawn from the Sri Lankan effort."
“Sri Lanka has wellcrafted laws but rarely are they implemented satisfactorily. If the regulator is underresourced, little more than ticking the boxes so that Sri Lanka will pass the EU’s adequacy test is likely to be achieved, and even that is uncertain. The best law is not one that is optimal in a technical sense, but one which is most appropriate for the local conditions”
A recent survey by policy think tanks LIRNEasia and ICRIER has shown that Maharashtra was able to ensure continuity in formal education for 38% of its school-going (enrolled) children during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The state compares well against the India national average, as well as that of NCT Delhi, whose performance stood at 20% and 25% respectively. It is also noteworthy that only 6% of households had at least one child dropping out of education, as opposed to the national average of 25%.
A recent survey of households in Tamil Nadu has shown that large numbers of school-aged children did not have continuity in their formal education during the COVID-19 school closures. A small number (10%) even dropped out.
A survey of Tamil Nadu shows that 23% of internet users that came online in 2020 did so due to a need brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey shows that 5.7 million people (aged 15 or above) came online in 2020, and a further 4 million in 2021, bringing the total number of internet users in Tamil Nadu up to 32 million people, or 53% of the 15+ population.
A recent survey showed that only 25% of enrolled school-aged children accessed education during school closures in Delhi, despite high levels of internet connectivity.
The 2021 survey, conducted by policy think tanks LIRNEasia and ICRIER, showed that 84% of households in NCT Delhi have an internet connection: 22 percentage points higher than the national average. Although the survey also shows that the high level of household connectivity in Delhi helped it to better adapt in certain aspects during the COVID-19-induced lockdowns, it did not translate to gains in education.