Saturday, February 14, 2009

Narayana Murthy appointed Sri Lankan President’s IT advisor

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday appointed N R Narayana Murthy, chairman of India's Infosys Technologies, as his international advisor on information technology, the president's office said.

Rajapaksa made the appointment after inviting Narayana Murthy as the chief guest to the ceremonial launch of '2009-Year of English and Information Technology' at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo on Friday.

It was launched as a major initiative of the government to meet the demands of the 21st century in skills and capacities, mainly at the rural sector.

Infosys is a global consulting and IT services company based in India. Narayana Murthy, who has stepped down as its CEO but continues as chief mentor and board chairman, has received numerous prestigious awards and honours, including Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of the Indian government.

Speaking at the event, Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka was "greatly inspired by the dramatic success of India" in the field of IT in recent years.

"It is for this reason that we have turned to India in addition to other countries for technical support to strengthen our own endeavours. We are honoured by the presence today of Narayana Murthy, the 'father of IT in India' and the chairman and mentor of the world famous Infosys," President Rajapaksa said.

He said Narayana Murthy's address at the ceremony had given a wider perspective on empowering rural people with knowledge in IT. Rajapaksa expressed confidence that his association with Sri Lanka's national initiative would continue in the future as well.

The president said his government lays emphasis on the unmistakable need to urgently equip people, especially the youth, with proficiency in the English language and to provide them with access to computers and Internet through rapid development of use of IT.

"With the liberation of our people from the clutches of terrorism which destroyed our country for more than 25 years, year 2009 will also be our country's Year of Peace, our country's Year of Reconciliation, and our Year of true Independence," Rajapaksa said.

"English and IT shall, therefore, be used by our government as instruments of rural empowerment; as powerful tools that could make the villages of our country a meaningful part of the global village," the president said.

Present among the key invitees were Abhai Maurya, vice-chancellor of the English and Foreign Languages University of Hyderabad, which has already launched a re-training programme for Sri Lanka's English teachers with the assistance of the government of India.