Developing countries have tended to focus on disaster relief and rehabilitation at the expense of strategies to prevent or mitigate effects of disasters in the first place. To a politician, the political payout from handing out relief materials to the disaster affected appears greater than investing in a national early warning system that may not yield any political reward during his/her tenure. Political expediency coupled with a mix of fatalism, laziness to undertake the hardwork required to implement mitigation/prevention strategies, low valued assigned to human life in developing countries have all contributed to the callous acceptance of natural disasters as a “fact of life.” Hence, the allusion to a “paradigm shift” referred to by the Indian minister, hopefully marks a policy shift rather than just a rhetorical one. ———— India, others work on region’s first disaster management policy The Hindu, August 22, 2006 New Delhi, Aug 22.
What will it take? 2004 December 26th 2005 March 28th 2006 July 17th Three tsunamis within less than two years; and the clueless Indonesian government can’t still get its act together. And faraway India is supposed to have issued a warning when there was no chance of a tsunami hitting India. CYA bureaucrat, I guess. A different error.
The recent bomb atacks in Bombay have taken away hundreds of invaluable lives and brought miseray to thousands of families followed by shattering the millions. Nothing can measure or relpace the losses. India is recovering and it will overcome. The terrorists have also failed to inhibit the FDI as BusinessWeek reports. Article available here.
Dilshani Samaraweera & Harsha de Silva The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and LIRNEasia have partnered to conduct an in-depth baseline sector analysis of the BPO sector in Sri Lanka, to assess its direct, as well as indirect impacts on the country, and to identify opportunities and constraints for its growth. The preliminary findings of the analysis will be presented at the colloquium. The finalized country report will be available publicly and it is envisaged that it would constitute an essential input in the formulation of effective policies that would catalyze sector growth.
The World Information Society Report 2006 showcasing the results from the Digital Opportunity Index applied to 180 countries was released this week by the ITU. The DOI evaluates the opportunity, infrastructure and utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) worldwide. The report can be downloaded here. Amongst the countries that LIRNEasia works in, the biggest gainers in the DOI ranking are India and Indonesia. In India, digital opportunity nearly doubled between 2001 and 2005.
Qualcomm has come under some pressure recently when Reliance, with one of the fastest growing CDMA-based networks in the world based on Qualcomm’s patented technology, announced that it would provide mobile service using GSM technology and criticised Qualcomm’s high royalty and licensing fees. The inference was that Qualcomm’s fees were resulting in higher costs for handsets which is preventing Reliance from offering affordable service to low-income subscribers. Qualcomm claims that CDMA handset prices in India were already some of the lowest in the world and that royalty was only about $2 per handset. It further argues that Reliance’s move into GSM has to do with flawed spectrum policy of the Indian Telecom Ministry (DoT) that provides more than twice the spectrum to GSM operators compared to CDMA operators like Reliance. This is because according to Qualcomm, GSM technology allows only a finite number of subscribers in a cell whereas the CDMA technology on the other hand poses no such restrictions.
LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO ‘Sri Lanka’s cabinet has agreed clear up frequency spectrum on few bands, as the government looks to attract new operators to offer telephony services at affordable rates. “The cabinet has agreed to clear spectrum in 450 megahertz, 800-900 megahertz, 1800 megahertz and 2-gigahertz radio frequencies, which will be re-allocated for public telecommunications networks,” Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told reporters Thursday.’ Spectrum refarming is one of the most important and difficult tasks facing regulatory agencies today. The quasi-property rights enjoyed by users requires that they be compensated for the losses they incur when they are compelled to move in the course of refarming. One of the groups most resistant to moving are the military.
Foreign Affairs – The India Model – Gurcharan Das “But what is most remarkable is that rather than rising with the help of the state, India is in many ways rising despite the state. The entrepreneur is clearly at the center of India’s success story. India now boasts highly competitive private companies, a booming stock market, and a modern, well-disciplined financial sector. And since 1991 especially, the Indian state has been gradually moving out of the way — not graciously, but kicked and dragged into implementing economic reforms. It has lowered trade barriers and tax rates, broken state monopolies, unshackled industry, encouraged competition, and opened up to the rest of the world.
By Harsha Vardhana Singh (with assistance from Rohan Samarajiva and Ayesha Zainudeen), Version 1.7 The paper seeks to understand why adequate network backbone may not be available, or adequate access to it may not be provided. Based on this assessment, we identify policy actions that can be taken to create the conditions for adequate supply of, and reasonable access to, backbone in a country. A theoretical model is developed which is then applied to the case of India, to show the situations in which invesment in backbone is commercially viable for operators. Read Executive Summary on Project Page Download full report: Version 1.
Telegeography June 13, 2006 The Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued its highly anticipated consultation paper covering wireless broadband services, including UMTS and WiMAX. The paper is available for download here [PDF] The paper has identified two overriding issues concerning the introduction of high speed wireless services – namely, frequency allocation and licence fees. The issue of frequencies is already a hot topic in the market, with the nation’s GSM and CDMA operators clashing over their preferred spectrum for 3G services. The TRAI had previously proposed allocating spectrum in the IMT-2000 standard 2GHz frequency band, for both GSM and CDMA operators, designed to support both W-CDMA and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO 3G development. Whilst the country’s GSM operators supported the plan, the CDMA lobby is demanding that the 1900MHz band be made available, saying that there is a dearth of CDMA equipment and handsets available for use in the 2GHz spectrum.
India Becoming a Crucial Cog in the Machine at I.B.M. Click here for full article [registration required] By Saritha Rai, New York Times, June 5, 2006 BANGALORE, India, June 4 — The world’s biggest computer services company could not have chosen a more appropriate setting to lay out its strategy for staying on top. On Tuesday, on the expansive grounds of the Bangalore Palace, a colonial-era mansion once inhabited by a maharajah, the chairman and chief executive of I.
PLEASE CONTINUE DISCUSSION ON STANDARDIZING SINHALA FOR IT APPLICATIONS IN THIS THREAD. CREATING ICT MYTHS THREAD HAS BEEN ARCHIVED. EXCERPT FROM PREVIOUS DISCUSSION BELOW:
A report on the Indicators Workshop held in New Delhi by LIRNEasia in collaboration with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is available here [PDF]. The report provides a review of international initiatives and best practices, examines some of the difficulties regarding standardising indicators across the region, the challenges of measurement and collection of indicator data and the process of developing an indicators manual for the South Asian region.
This article shows that government’s instinct to ban cellphones from conflict zones because of the belief that it will be used by militants/terrorists to further their cause, actually neutralizes one of the security agencies most potent weapons to track subversives. I doubt that the Sri Lankan government will allow cellular service to be available any time soon in the North. But at least it gives the security agencies some food for thought. The Indian government was similarly reluctant to have cellular service in Kashmir, but the Indian security agencies are their biggest proponents now. ———— Troops in Kashmir master new weapon: cell phones Reuters By Sheikh MushtaqSun May 21, 1:53 AM ET Minutes after a bomb exploded recently in Kashmir and wounded Indian soldiers, a senior member of an Islamist rebel group called local newspaper offices to claim responsibility for the blast.
AirJaldi Summit – Dharamsala, India Above is a link to a meeting on license-free WiFi networks, centered on what has been built at Dharmasala, the venerable Dalai Lama’s headquarters (he was denied the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka for the 2550 Buddha Jayanti, despite all the Buddhist rhetoric of our current government: http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=1,2155,0,0,1,0.
LIRNEasia is sending its Lead Economist Harsha de Silva to participate on a MIT scholarship to the first ever executive course offered by the Poverty Action Lab this summer. The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a unit within MIT’s Department of Economics, serves as a focal point for development and poverty research based on “randomized trials”. According to Harsha, this program can significantly contribute to WDR & LIRNEasia’s ongoing and future research projects on ICTs. For example, “In the Teleuse on Shoestring project it is difficult to measure how much the poor actually benefitted from having access to the phone. There are a number of variables like cultural background, access to other infrastructure services, level of education etc which make it difficult for us to pinpoint how much access to telephone had in improving the quality of life of the poor in India and Sri Lanka,” said Harsha.