By Yohan Perera
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who launched the programme of introducing new international standard personal documents on Saturday, pledged to create an Andhra Pradesh style digital economy within the next five years.
Speaking during the launch at the Department of Registrar General the Prime Minister said the digital economy will create new employment opportunities. He said government’s objective is to provide a more efficient service to the people. Accordingly he said it will be possible to obtain any document a person may need instantly.
“People have got the opportunity of obtaining documents such as death, birth and marriage certificates instantly from today. Deeds and other documents pertaining lands will also be provided instantly. Therefore this new service would be useful to entrepreneurs as well, Entrepreneurs actually requested for efficiency in obtaining documents. We have fulfilled this today,” the Prime Minister said.
“Creation of a digital network at the Department of Immigration and Emigration had already begun. It is not an easy task. In addition a digital network will be set up at Department of Inland Revenue and a number of other government institutions. We hope to complete all these before the end of the year. We began digitalising government institutions in 2002. We introduced laws needed for digitalisation during that time. We voted out of power in 2004. The digitalisation did not start until 2015. We will create a new economy through digitalisation. This digitalisations create revenue earning opportunities. Therefore youth in this country should be trained for IT,”
“During the time Department of Registrar General was started all work was done by manually, then type writers were introduced. This was followed by other equipment such as fax lines. It is time to go into the next step now. We hope to digitalise the economy and create new avenues to earn foreign currency. It is the government which should play a leading role in it. When I visited Andhra Pradesh in the past its Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu showed me the digital administrative system in his province. We also need such modern systems. I tried to introduce the same system in Sri Lanka but some computer companies opposed it. It did not got off the ground since we lost power. We will introduce it now,” the Prime Minister said.