Sri Lanka and India pledged to heighten their cooperation in the field of digital and information technologies yesterday, during the visit of Indian Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
“We have come to assist, to help you to innovate, to create opportunities and employment. This is a modest beginning, which must become a powerful platform,” Prasad said yesterday at a ceremony held at the Sri Lankan Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Ministry.
The ceremony saw Sri Lanka launching two services, which were gifts from India.
The first, which is the ‘eOffice Lite eFile’ platform, will enable the Sri Lankan government to upload, process and take action on procedures currently done manually, such as approval of foreign leave for public servants.
“eOffice is more transparent and eOffice means faster governance,” Prasad said.
The second service is ‘LEARN’ or the Lankan Education and Research Network, which will allow 16 local state universities and more than 50 other education and research institutes to connect directly with their Indian peers, instead of connecting through a third party in Singapore.
LEARN was developed from and is connected to India’s own National Knowledge Network (NKN), which connects research and education units within India.
The ceremony yesterday also saw India and Sri Lanka signing two agreements. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two governments to increase collaboration in IT, while a joint declaration of intent was signed between India’s National Informatics Centre and Sri Lanka’s Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Ministry.
Prasad said that India’s IT development has helped the average Indian lead a better life and that India’s IT boom should help the region. “The digital empowerment of India must find resonance in the neighbourhood,” he said. He added, similar to Sri Lanka, the NKN will be expanded to Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan.
Sri Lankan Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando expressed gratitude towards India for introducing the new platforms and engaging closely with Sri Lanka on technology development.
“We look up to India as our big brother. Always,” he said.
Fernando added that he has been trying to introduce the services available in India, such as the digital ID programme Aadaar and the government services app Umang but that bureaucracy in Sri Lanka is obstructing him from implementing them.
He said that if he were a senior minister like Prasad, with the portfolios of law and justice, he may have been able to cut through the red tape.
Daily Mirror, January 17, 2018