The broad objective of LIRNEasia is to bring evidence to the policy process and thereby improve it. The means by which we achieve this objective range from directly taking evidence to the policy process, through advocacy and dissemination, to building up policy intellectuals. We never quite thought that the means would extend to actually placing researchers within the supreme legislative body of a country, but with the entry of Dr Harsha de Silva to the Parliament of Sri Lanka representing the United National Front, the principal opposition party, this too has happened. We warmly congratulate Harsha and wish him the very best in continuing to improve policy discourse in Sri Lanka by bringing evidence to bear on the important questions that face our country. Harsha has been an exemplary policy intellectual, though much of his policy advocacy has occurred outside the framework of his work as LIRNEasia’s Lead Economist.
On 31 August 2007, Sarvodaya convened a meeting of the Telecenter National Alliance, made up of most of the operators of telecenters in Sri Lanka. The objective of this activity is mutual learning among the telecenter operators. One of the sessions included presentations on the implications of the teleuse @ BOP results for telecenters by Rohan Samarajiva and on the new EZ pay mobile payment service introduced by Dialog and the National Development Bank by Eran Wickramaratne. The basic argument in the T@BOP presentation was that with 41 per cent of BOP households already and likely to reach 70 per cent, if the government’s proposed taxes do not go through, telecenters will have to develop different strategies to attract phone owners and the remaining non-owners.