Personal Computer (PC) users in Sri Lanka :
80 persons to one PC
Infotel 2010 programmed for exposure from September 30 to October 4 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall is expected to attract international participation in practically all fields in Information Technology.
At a news conference convened last week, Damitha Hettihewa, CEO, Federation of Information Technology Industry of Sri Lanka (FITIS) said according to a recent assessment, there are now approximately 273 million PC users world-wide.
However, the ratio in the Sri Lankan context remains relatively low that too the present user base including student population and Corporate sector. (Not the public at large). The figure is 80 persons to one PC. He said there are now 3400 schools which use computers in their daily curriculum catering to this student base. Total number of schools including rural areas are, according to recent statistics, courtesy Education Department, about 9740 schools.
Teachers are being trained and expectations are that with greater exposure to IT and PCs IT literacy would increase and there would be an all round improvement in value addition for PC technology to be on par with international numbers.
Expected IT users will increase from its present number of 40,000 to at least 100,000 in the short run. This, he said, was encouraging news.
However, on answering questions from the media in terms of software piracy, and its rampant use continuing unchecked, Country Business Manager, Intel, Indika de Soysa said although software piracy, remains a problem. Laws enacted to curb instances of such piracy issues are in place but although extremely few cases went before courts.
He conceded that lawyers too need to be trained because most cases that have been examined in courts of law were treated as criminal briefs. Such could not stand effective examination on grounds of criminal applications but had to be examined in different law applications.
He said most South East Asian countries are exposed to pirating, but reduction of taxes for genuine software could be distinctly be effective in combating this menace.
Commenting on the possibility for soft piracy and that Sri Lanka is sixth largest pirate in the world, this somewhat loose statement, a member of the head table said, was open to contest.
It is correct that there is now is in force only 2.5 % duty charged on PCs and
Further, the Government’s latest tax relief pointers could boost genuine software imports and effectively curb piracy.
Giving further exposure to responses, they said it was also of some credence that accessibility through piracy is affordable and more people could afford to own a PC.
However there was no excuse for piracy being permitted unchecked.
Reverting to INFOTEL 2010, Chairman Lanka Society Ltd., Dr. Ruwan Weerasinghe said the ICT Expo in September this year will be an international event. Expectations are Sri Lanka will have intense benefit levels and simultaneously, international exposure will benefit the growing student population in use and qualification in IT.
Multinational IT Corporates will exhibit their latest technology applications and eventual fall out would be that IT sciences will expand to increase PC users.