A working draft of the overview of ‘Road Map for Digital Sri Lanka – Digitally Enabled/Empowered Society by 2018’ has been released digitally to the public for inputs, comments and recommendations, Nation learnt.

The draft was shared online by Managing Director of Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), Muhunthan Canagey on December 18 via his personal Facebook account. Among those who have provided their thoughts and feedback so far were Sam de Silva of Internews and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, Content Marketing Officer at WSO2.

The document proposes the building of a ‘digitally inclusive Sri Lanka – a country transformed to a creative knowledge-based, networked society’ through digitally empowered citizens.

The National Digital Development Strategy has been formulated by ICTA with the vision of achieving a Digitally Inclusive Sri Lanka to achieve the key activities specified under the National Policy by the Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs.

The key activities specified include creating infrastructure for digital connectivity, development and implementation of a digital government, creating a conducive environment for a digital commerce, creating new employment opportunities and a ‘start-up’ culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, promoting Research and Development, creating a secure digital environment, improving the enabling environment, facilitating an equitable, inclusive and empowered society and generating digital content for improved healthcare, inclusive education and lifelong learning.

Under the section ‘Eight Petals of Digital Sri Lanka’, the document looks at eight key areas under which the recommendations of the ‘Road Map towards building a digitally inclusive Sri Lanka’ would be implemented. The eight areas discussed were namely, Digital Connectivity, Digital Society, Digital Commerce, Digital Government, Digital Security, Digital Legislation, Digital Jobs and Opportunities and Digital Content.

Under Digital Connectivity, a comprehensive, tiered programme was proposed to be implemented to ensure all citizens get to the same page about the possibilities of digital, how to use basic ICTs, how to behave in digital spaces and the rules and regulations.
Facilitating island-wide coverage up to maritime boundaries­ — up to 10 km outside its shores, Wi-Fi Connectivity Services at public spaces, free Wi-Fi connectivity to access Government services from Government and Wi-Fi locations, free Limited Wi-Fi of 1GB per citizen per month at all Government Institutions, free Wi-Fi in State Universities, establishing of 10,000 High Speed Wi-Fi Hotspots and making internet accessible to all were among other proposals under this section. In that regard, it was also proposed to provide every citizen with a smartphone and one tablet device for every child.

Other important proposals in the Road Map included securing authenticated Digital Identity for every citizen, encouraging all financial transactions to be digital and cashless, facilitating Private Commodity Exchanges, facilitating Private Crowd Funding Exchange and facilitating Fulfillment Services for Digital Commerce managed by private sector.
Key Social Impacts/Outcomes of the Digital Sri Lanka Framework according to the working draft, however, were to enrich the social lives of the people, facilitate real-time payment for goods and services, real-time government services delivery, improve country’s position in global indices, position Sri Lanka as a Knowledge-based Economy and improve the transparency of the government.

This document will be open for public consultation until January 18, 2016.