Sri Lanka seeks Indian state help for major IT push

ECONOMYNEXT – Chief minister of India’s Andhra Pradesh said Sunday that Sri Lanka sought help from his southern state to adopt internet-based technologies for a major energy saving and water management drive.

Chandrababu Naidu said he discussed with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe about enhancing cooperation to improve Sri Lanka’s service delivery using the internet.

"There were two immediate projects identified," he told reporters in Colombo. "One is how to go for LED bulbs, replacing all traditional street lamps with LED bulbs and control them from a single command centre."

"The second is ground water management and real-time (water) meter reading. These two can be done immediately."

He said his state government and Sri Lanka agreed to appoint top officials to implement computerisation of public services which have changed little in Sri Lanka since the island won independence from Britain in 1948.

Naidu, who is known as a tech-savvy politician, was invited as chief guest at official celebrations Sunday marking the second anniversary of Sirisena’s victory at January 2015 presidential elections.

The Indian leader said he was also keen to learn from Sri Lanka’s successful garment and tourism industries and invited investments from Sri Lanka.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka in March 2015, but visits by Indian regional leaders are rare.

However, the new government of President Sirisena has been keen to forge closer ties with southern states in India and local officials said the invitation to Naidu was in keeping with that shift in policy.

(COLOMBO, January 8, 2017)





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