Apps by the People, for the People
Did you know that, as at June 8, 2015, the Randenigala Reservoir has an active storage of 83.12% of 389.02MCM? We didn’t either. Until we SMS’d the following code to 1919:
WMS WL RAND
Go on, try it out.
Want to get the train schedule from Colombo Fort to Matara in a jiffy?
Send SLRD TRAIN FORT MATARA to 1919 and you will get the following reply:
“Trains from COLOMBO FORT to MATARA: 0635h DAILY, 0835h DAILY, 1030h DAILY, 1419h DAILY. Fares (Rs.) – 1C: 420.00, 2C: 230.00, 3C: 130.00”
Pretty neat, eh? The only problem is that in order to find the right codes for stations and other specific details you have to call 1919. Every time. Also, it’s 2015, and there is an app for pretty much everything these days. It would simply be more convenient to have such information readily available at the tap of a screen.
Not to be left behind, the Government Information Centre (GIC), together with the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), has come up with exactly that: a series of handy mobile apps for Android devices.
Sri Lanka Postal Codes
Get the postal code for any given division/post office anywhere in Sri Lanka. Or, if you have the postal code, use the app to find the relevant division/post office. The app has over 10,000 downloads on Google Play, with an average rating of 4.2 stars. Well-deserved for a lite app with a pleasing design.
This one’s our favourite. Just enter your starting point and destination and the app will return a detailed report of the day’s schedule that includes departure and arrival times, type of train and estimated duration. There is a separate tab for notices from the railway department. This app is definitely popular, with over 100,000 downloads and 4.4 stars on Google Play.
A fairly simple and straightforward app, Fish Prices displays the daily prices of fish as declared by the Sri Lanka Fisheries Corporation (Ceyfish). Prices are available for nine different locations around the country. With 10,000+ downloads and 4.2 stars, it can be installed from the Google Play Store.
Good governance with e-Participation
Over the years, GIC and ICTA have taken steps to engage citizens, dispense useful information and get the people’s input in shaping public policy through electronic media in a concept known as e-Participation.
For example, if you have any complaints or suggestions for improvement vis-à-vis government services and/or officers, you can either
- Call 1919 and submit your grievances, or
- Drop a line to the GIC complaint page
A relatively recent website introduced by ICTA called the Citizen Forum allows citizens to submit proposals to improve the much hyped good governance. It also includes bulletin boards on topics as diverse as e-Government strategies and policy to cyber security.
The agency’s YouTube channel, although rarely updated, is also worth a look.