Remember the good old days, when we want to get a service from a government department, feeling that comes to our mind is not very encouraging. Most of the people in this country have experienced that in the recent past and even now to a certain extent.
That has been one of the crucial factors for the citizens to stick to private sector products and services as much as they can. There are many instances that we face difficulties in finding the correct person who handles the matters and most of the time people send from pillar to post when it comes to documentation. People are getting lost in the process and ultimately waste money to get things done.
We, Sri Lankans are well known for our hospitality around the world, but our own public service sector needs a tremendous improvement on hospitality towards their clientele. People have to wait for hours and hours to meet the relevant people and spend their money unreasonably in getting things done. Sometimes the innocent citizens have experienced verbal harassments also which make the valuable government service a real disappointment. On one side when the government pumping billons of money to improve the level of services and products offered to citizens but the delivery channels of the government has deficiency in being a value addition to the high investment that government is doing.
The lack on multi lingual skills in the government sector makes this problem even worse. Especially the Tamil speaking Sri Lankans find it difficult to get the services from the government some times due to this. That will make them feel that they have been neglected, which is not the truth.
The government has identified the need of an interface to bridge this gap and had come up with a creative idea of having a call center to front end the queries raised by all citizens. Now in Sri Lanka by dialing 1919 using any phone you have the access to all the services offered by the government. The beauty of that is service is available in Sinhala Tamil and English. This makes accessing the government services a much better experience and makes the life really easy when it comes to deal with government agencies or departments.
The initiative of this concept was by Hon, Secretary to the president Mr. Lalith Weerathunga and project is steered by Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Director, Re-engineering Government Programme, ICTA . The Information and Communication Technology the apex body for IT in Sri Lanka has been involved from the inception of this initiative. At the initial phase all the government departments has submitted their service manuals and in all three languages. This was a really tough task. But thanks to the constant support of Mr. Lalith Weerathunga this task has become a reality Added Mr. Deshapriya.
There were 20 government institutions at the beginning and now it has grown to 120 and more than 2500 services are now on board with Government Information Center. If you have a query, just dial 1919 and you will get the information you want to get your things done. For example that can be how to get your ID back or may to how to get a loan facility from a government bank etc. Government Information Center is the one stop shop for all your information needs.
The government Institutions also gets the benefit out of this process, by getting fewer calls and also people visit the government institutes after enquiring from 1919, so they are well prepared with the required documentation and they know whom to meet. The heads of Department of Emigration and Immigration and Registration of Persons Department have already expressed the positive feedback after implementing this, said Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya.
1919 team is available from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm all 365 days. This is a classic example of the vision of the government of building a one united nation.
All Sri Lankans can access this service even in major festival seasons. Added Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya. The government is now planning to distribute phone units to IDP camps to make this service available for citizens affected by war in north and east areas.
This concept has been recognized in many world class forums and has won awards. Concept of the GIC is requested by the Public Sector Technology Management (PSTM) in order to share it with the other countries in the Asian region. Therefore, in the Technology forum of the PSTM called Government Technology Award, the concept was published as a case study under the category of Business Process Management for the others who participated to the conference to share it as a case study and the GIC has won the runner up award of the Government Technology Award. Recently won the eGovernment award from the World Summit on the Information Society. This shows the quality of the concept.
Apart from 1919 the expats also can get this service by dialing 0094 114 707070. We request all Sri Lankan to get the maximum out of this. Said Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya.