ICTs after 30 Years
Bringing Government Closer to the People
The idea of ‘bringing government closer to the people’ can have many connotations. In contemporary Sri Lanka what jumps to mind first is the debate on decentralisation and the 13th Amendment. Thirty years ago, inter alia, the government was woefully inadequate in providing people with basic services at a critical time of need. Ten years ago, obtaining any kind of service from a Government department meant long queues and longer waits – all this adding to dissatisfaction and disengagement by the public with government related matters and services. This feature, however, takes a different perspective – how ICTs are transforming the way people are more aware of public services and are able to obtain them with ease. With unique and unprecedented access into three highly sought-after government services in Sri Lanka, this feature explores the progressive steps being made to provide easier, quicker, and more systematic access to the country’s citizens, with the help of technology.
Many of the instances highlighted here are part of the ‘e-Government’ and ‘e-Citizen’ programmes of the Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of the Government of Sri Lanka. Established in 2003, ICTA has made steady progress over the years and some initiatives have even been lauded and rewarded globally. This feature takes a ‘behind-the-scenes’ looks at the trilingual government hotline 1919, the Birth, Marriage and Deaths Registry, and the new Revenue License system. All of these now allowe ordinary citizens instant access to information and services that would have otherwise taken much longer to obtain, sometimes at the cost of a day’s earnings.
For details and significant research around each photo, please click here.