The District Digital Readiness Index (DDRI) project, which commenced in 2023, is an ongoing endeavor that has recently achieved a significant milestone. The project's core focus revolves around the development and implementation of the DDRI, a novel methodology aimed at comprehensively assessing the technological needs and readiness of various districts across the country. While the DDRI has been successfully formulated and validated by industry experts, its official launch is still pending.
The origins of this ambitious project can be traced to the absence of a comprehensive model capable of accurately gauging the technological requirements and inclinations of diverse regions within the nation. The multifaceted nature of different districts, characterized by unique complexities and disparities, has made it exceedingly challenging to comprehend their specific needs using the currently available statistical data and indicators. The primary goal of the DDRI project is to bridge this information gap and address district-level disparities effectively.
In terms of objectives, the project is guided by a central mission: to promote inclusive regional development through the widespread adoption of digital technologies. To achieve this overarching goal, a set of secondary objectives has been outlined:
1. Develop a statistical model to benchmark technology readiness for 25 districts.
2. Create customized Digital Transformation roadmaps for each district, tailored to their unique requirements.
3. Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the district ecosystem to prioritize programs and initiatives, allocate resources judiciously, and continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of regional development efforts.
The project's scope is driven by the understanding that a uniform, one-size-fits-all approach to digital transformation cannot be applied uniformly across the country. Recognizing significant disparities in digital resources, socio-economic conditions, and accessibility to digital infrastructure, the project adopts a region-specific strategy. Building on the Information and Communication Technology Agency's (ICTA) 2021 introduction of the Cluster Readiness Index (CRI) at the provincial level, the ICTA, in collaboration with the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS), has launched the Digital Readiness Index (DRI) in the current year to assess regions at the district level. The DDRI, upon its official launch, will serve as the key regional indicator for prioritizing programs, allocating resources, and effectively monitoring and evaluating digital transformation initiatives at the regional level.
The success of the DDRI project hinges on the active involvement and collaboration of various stakeholders and partners. The Department of Census and Statistics stands as the primary stakeholder, and it is joined by several other pivotal organizations, including the Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils & Local Government, Sri Lanka Export Development Board, as well as numerous industry associations and regulatory bodies.
Looking ahead, the DDRI is scheduled for an official launch in October 2023, marking the beginning of a new phase in the project's evolution. This milestone will usher in the development of tailor-made, comprehensive regional development action plans for all 25 districts, informed by the valuable insights provided by the DDRI. These action plans will be executed through District Digital Transformation Committees (DDTCs). Moreover, the project envisions the formulation of favorable policies for regional development based on DDRI findings and exploring broader partner engagements through DDTCs. Lastly, the project will conduct an annual assessment to ensure its continued progress and success in promoting digital readiness and fostering inclusive regional development.