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DateLine Wednesday, 4 February 2009

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61st Independence Day

Victorious nation and independence

This Independence Day would be the most celebrated Independence Day in our history. The nation starts to smell the taste of true independence after many years in the grip of terrorism. The enlightened hearts and the inspired minds of our nation once again have their faith on the rising sun in the Indian Ocean.


Role of ICT significant in all aspects

Defeating terrorism would not be so easy unless we have great leadership. If we go through the pages of history many great kings, leaders and latter the politicians contributed much to the independence of this country.

Nothing would be gifted to us on a gold platter. We as a proud nation in a tiny little country in the Indian Ocean known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean have once again proven to the world how great leadership and unity could build a country which was classified as a devastated state in the past.

The right time has come. We must give values to our war heroes who fought and sacrificed their lives to the freedom of our motherland. Now our turn has come to build our country, economy for the betterment of the people living in the country.

Challenge

The next biggest challenge would be the building of country’s economy to cope up with the world economic crisis.

In this context the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) would be significant in all aspects. On the other hand, ICT is the smartest tool in the world which can be used very effectively in the economic development.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s keenness on the development of ICT was clearly reflected in his speech delivered at the Independence Day celebrations last year. The year 2010 was set as the target year to reap the harvest of ICT.

The question is how ready are we to meet the targets given by the President in the last year on the very same day.

ICT consisted of many individual technologies and services. Among them data transferring methods and information distribution networks would play a significant role and can be used in the developing process. But where Sri Lanka is concerned the information technology or rather technologies based on Internet is very much limited to individual tasks and is rarely used in the Government services.

We have spent millions of rupees and sacrificed valuable lives of our people for nothing. It is the same thing happening again in the country where ICT is concerned. The improper strategies carried out by certain authorities and their lack of knowledge and limited exposure would have prevented the country from achieving ICT goals timely.

Networks

The main driver in the ICT is the data transferring medium that connects individuals. If one tries to develop ICT in any particular country without developing data networks that would be utterly useless and could end up with no success.

Services

Products and services generated as a result of ICT could not be delivered or received if the high speed data networks were not available in the country.

Internet is like a day dream for majority of people who are living in rural areas in the country.

This is no surprise in a country where Internet operates in a policy vacuum situation. Due to none existence of a national policy to recognize the needs of information technology the value of the Internet was never recognized. People in the country are totally unaware of the benefits of Internet. This technology has been kept aside or it has been neglected.

The outcome of this would be more serious and it would directly hit the rural community than the urban community in the long run. This digital divide within the country must be eliminated or otherwise this would be a great injustice to rural community in the country.

The students must be empowered with the knowledge and their skills must be enhanced to the standards of other students living in more privileged areas namely in the western province.

The Tourism industry can play a key role in the economic development. As soon as the war ends the favourable condition that it generates can attract thousands of tourists in to the country.

If we have developed communication infrastructure it can be used to connect our entire hotel network to the Internet by enabling the traveller to make reservations online irrespective of the star grade of the hotel.

Ventures

More foreign investors like BPO can be invited there to launch their business ventures soon when war ends.

To assure their presence in the country we must develop the country’s data network infrastructure to meet the demand of future requirements.

This will be very challenging. If we continued the existing strategy what was being used it would do no good for the nation. We need a strong hand and a good strategy to take our motherland forward in the ICT industry.

Like how we conquer the war, we must conquer our economy. In this aspect ICT can be a wise choice. The Government named this year as year for ICT and English development.

The achievements can be assessed at the end of this year or later at the next Independence Day. Hence, we must find a better way to achieve our goals comparatively in lesser time yet with great success. Then the next Independence celebrations will be more colourful.

sladsl@hotmail.com

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