The Sri Lankan government launched a new, revamped online portal last month at the FutureGov SAARC Summit 2013, held on 25-26 June in Colombo.
Launched by Naveen Dissanayake, Minister of Public Management Reforms and the guest-of-honour at the Summit, the website is a user-friendly one-stop shop for information and services from the government.
FutureGov spoke to Wasantha Deshapriya, Director, Re-engineering Government Programme, at the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) about the development of the new portal. “The old web portal was developed in 2009”, Deshapriya informed us. “It had some design limitations in terms of adding new features. Its navigation system for accessing information and services were also outdated and cumbersome”.
For easy access, the new portal categorises services based on type of user (citizens, businesses, or non-residents) and type of service (informational, interactive, or transactional). The portal also includes a search function allowing users to find the services and information they need.
A new ‘mServices’ section of the portal displays a list of all mobile services offered by government departments, including SMS-based services such as checking status of license applications, and mobile apps.
A new feature of the portal is the section on open data. The open data portal provides more than 86 free, machine-readable datasets from eight publishers such as Sri Lanka Police and the Department of Census and Statistics. “We are aggressively working to improve the Open Data page and will be adding more datasets”, declared Deshapriya.
Additionally, the government portal includes a citizen engagement section containing links to various channels that citizens can use to give feedback to the government, and links to all social media pages of the government.
ICTA outsourced the development of the portal at a cost of SLR 500,000 (US$5,000). “ICTA has collected information on how to improve the government web portal from users and from the United Nations’ eGovernment survey”, said Deshapriya.
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