Sri Lanka Archives — Page 30 of 59 — LIRNEasia


Fitch Ratings, a global rating agency, said the South Asian and South East Asian countries are divergent in terms of regulatory risk. It says Sri Lanka has the highest risky regulatory environment while the risk is lowest in Malaysia.  Buddhika Piyasena, Director in Fitch’s TMT team, said, Sri Lanka’s high regulatory risk score reflects insufficient transparency in the regulatory process combined with the regulator’s strong connection with the political framework. The total regulatory risk score for each market is derived based on three major sub-categories: Political & Social Policy Risk. Industrial Policy Risk.
More food for thought for discussions on whether the emphasis should be on agriculture, which is said to employ the most people, or on services, which has the most potential. Sri Lanka has generated 234,000 service sector jobs in the third quarter of 2009 from a year earlier, though 89,000 jobs were lost in industry, and 240,000 were lost in the farming sector, a government survey showed. The data does not include Sri Lanka’s Northern province, which had just emerged from a 30-year war. The agriculture sector shrank 0.9 percent in the quarter, with paddy production falling 28.
When e Sri Lanka was designed, we thought that lots of jobs would be created, some through conventional firms in the IT and IT enabled service industries, but more in entrepreneurial startups. The first hope was realized more or less, but not the latter. Since two people with direct experience, LIRNEasia international advisory board members Ashok Jhunjhunwala and KF Lai, were in town for the LIRNEasia@5 conference, I offered them as speakers to SLASSCOM. A well attended meeting that included local entrepreneurs such as Dinesh Saparamadu (hSenid) and Mifaan Careem (Respere) and a significant number of U of Moratuwa engineering students saw a fruitful exchange of views that has already led to the establishment of an entrepreneurs society at U of Moratuwa. KF Lai talked about how he had been encouraged to start his own business while a government scientist, by the Government of Singapore.
Lakshaman Bandaranayake of Vanguard Management, who worked with LIRNEasia closely in the post-tsunami period, was kind enough to arrange meetings for Stuart Weinstein of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center who attended the LIRNEasia@5 conference. For those who may not know, Stuart was at the controls on December 26, 2004 when the great earthquake that caused the tsunami occurred. I visited PTWC a few weeks later and met Stuart and his colleague Barry Hirshorn leading to my first piece on early warning, post-tsunami. Despite all the controversies that were swirling around, Stuart and his colleagues were incredibly forthcoming and open, even agreeing to give evidence via a video link for the useless Presidential Commission on the Tsunami. Being the practical man he is, Stuart installed some new software at the Met Department that will help them make better use of ocean level information sent by the World Meteorological Organization and has also drafted some recommendations for the Sri Lanka authorities on how to improve their processes.
Given we’ve just finished celebrating LIRNEasia’s fifth anniversary, I could not but notice a rather striking compliment in a piece published to mark the death anniversary of Professor Cyril Ponnamperuma, a great Sri Lankan who gave me my first job , post-PhD. The author, Nalaka Gunawardene, is a person we partner with on occasion and a good friend. But anyone who knows Nalaka will have no doubt that he speaks his mind without fear or favor. Looking at the 2009 December piece, I also came across an earlier post that refers to LIRNEasia in the context of innovative organizations: If we want to nurture imagination and innovation, we must first learn from the mistakes of the recent past. Obsolete institutions and ossified policies will need to be reformed.
Mobile phone message services like one deployed by the financial news agency Reuters to over a million farmers in India, could help Sri Lankan farmers earn more for their produce, experts said. Ranjit Pawar of Reuters Market Light, India said their SMS (short message service) in India provide farmers timely information and helps eliminate middlemen. “A farmer told me, ‘If I had timely information I could have made 40 percent more money,’ when we launched the short message service in India,” Pawar told a seminar on knowledge based economies. It was organized by LIRNEasia, a regional think tank based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Full story.
We didn’t quite think we’d be generating news at the conference, but apparently some of what was said was truly newsworthy. Capital investment in Sri Lanka’s telecom infrastructure has plummeted amid a price war and high taxation which will crimp expansion in the future and broadband roll out in the island, top telecom operators said. “Before the price war each operator was spending about 150 to 200 million (US dollars) a year in capital expenditure,” Dumindra Ratnayake, head of Tigo Sri Lanka said at a forum organized in Colombo by LirneAsia, a regional policy research body. “This year all operators put together may have invested about 150 million.”
More coverage on LBO of the proceedings of the LIRNEasia@5 conference: “The biggest contribution from research is not what is adopted, but what is adopted,” says Bill Melody, founding director of World Dialog on Regulation for Network Economies. “Harmful policies that are avoided with the information generated from research.” R K Arnold the head of the executive secretariat of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India says all its recommendation is based on extensive but decisions are not “We used a (LirneAsia) research on a tax and the government reduced the tax. In infrastructure sharing we drawn heavily on your research,” Arnold said. “But whether the decision makers use it at the top depends on a very fluid situation.
Professor Xue Lan of Tsinghua University in Beijing participated in the inaugural session of the La@5 conference through a video link, kindly provided by Tata Communications Lanka. We were worried about this, because he was competing with real people (Milinda Moragoda, Minister of Justice and Law Reforms, Sri Lanka, and Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Center for Policy Research, New Delhi) in the co-presence of the large audience. This report by an LBO journalist who was in the room suggests that the message overcame the limitations of the medium. Ad hoc public policy formulation can be disastrous and both China and India are evolving evidence based processes to back effective government action, academics and researchers said at a policy forum in Colombo. “The strategic direction is set by the Party and State Council and the People’s Congress makes legislation,” Xue Lan professor of Public Policy at Tsinghua University in China said, participating in a regional policy forum in Colombo.
In December 2009, Sri Lanka Railways will launch a service that will allow the making of railway reservations using mobiles. We congratulate the past and present management of the Railways for taking this innovative step in an otherwise hidebound organization. We are sure they had to overcome some very serious administrative barriers in what is still a government department.
Auton Lab is a technology partner developing the T-Cube software for the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program. Prof. Artur Dubrawski (Director of Carnegie Mellon Universities Auton Lab) presented the paper: T­Cube Web Interface for Real­-time Biosurveillance in Sri Lanka at the Eight Annual International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) 2009 in Las Vegas, USA, Dec 03-04. The presentation shows some examples of events detected by the T-Cube analysis on synthetic data set produced using the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health and Nutrition’s Epidemiology Unit published Weekly Epidemiological Report as a basis.
We are always happy when people use our research. Happier when we are mentioned as the source too. We thank the writer and/or the source for attributing the results to us. While there is no separate data on the number of female subscribers in the country, according to a recent Lirneasia Teleuse Survey (a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank), mobile phone ownership is far lower among females than males in South Asia. Statistical analysis shows that gender has a significant impact on mobile phone adoption at the bottom of the pyramid in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
e Sri Lanka, when designed in 2002-03, broke new ground. Now six years later, it seems opportune to assess whether it delivered on its promise. This assessment was triggered by discussions on how best to respond to the Brazilian government’s invitation to Helani Galpaya to share the learnings of e Sri Lanka. It also builds on our work on indicators and indices and discussions on this site. What did it achieve in its originally allotted five years?
Prof. K. Vijayraghavan, Director of the National Center for Biological Sciences, in Bangalore is one of five recipients of this year’s Infosys Science Foundation prize, given to world-class researchers in social science in India. Along with our friends from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras’s – Rural Technology and Business Incubator, Prof. Vijayraghavan is one of the Investigators of the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP) carried out in the state of Tamil Nadu in India and Sri Lanka.

More talk on cheap talk

Posted on November 26, 2009  /  0 Comments

We were not optimistic about the telecom regulators actually doing something about lowering intra-SAARC phone prices more than one year after the SAARC heads of state said it should be done. The regulators show their independence when it comes to matters such as this. But the prices came down for LK-IN calls without any regulatory intervention. We continue to live in hope. South Asian telecommunications regulators have decided to ask phone companies in the region to reduce international call charges, an official said.
The health departments and health workers involved in the Real-Time Biosruveillance Program (RTBP) pilot see the benefits in the m­-HealthSurvey for real­-time data collection, T­Cube Web Interface for near­-real­-time outbreak detection, and Sahana Alerting Module for real­-time health risk information dissemination. Preliminary lessons to date indicate the need for more robust mobile application for data collection with complete standardized content in disease­-syndrome for reduction of noise and increase of reliability in the datasets. More rigorous capacity building and frequent use is required for health officials to take advantage of the full potential of TCWI. Further exercises need to be carried out with the Sahana Alerting Module to understand its shortcomings. Given that the system has been in preliminary use for less than six months, it is anticipated that the usability issues will subside in time to come.