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India hands over Rs 450 million to Sri Lanka

The island nation’s digitalisation programme being implemented through the Indian grant assistance.

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COLOMBO, Aug 5 (PTI): India has handed over Rs 450 million in advance to Sri Lanka to fund its unique digital identity project, the most crucial step in the island nation’s digitalisation programme being implemented through the Indian grant assistance.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office here said that the fund from the government of India was given on Friday.

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During a meeting at the presidential secretariat, key stakeholders, including presidential senior adviser on National Security and chief of presidential staff, Sagala Ratnayaka, state minister of technology, Kanaka Herath, Indian high commissioner, Gopal Bagley, and first secretary of the Indian High Commission, Eldos Mathew and others engaged in extensive discussions on the project’s execution.

Signifying the Indian government’s commitment to the initiative, the Indian High Commissioner handed over a significant contribution of Indian Rs 450 million to minister Kanaka Herath (state minister of technology), constituting 15 per cent of the total funds required for the successful implementation of the project as an advance payment,” a statement from the President’s Office said.

Ratnayaka emphasised the paramount importance of adhering to a well-defined timeline to ensure the project’s seamless execution.

Acknowledging the project’s profound significance in Sri Lanka’s economic recovery process, Ratnayaka expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Indian government for its unwavering support in this endeavour.

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“High Commissioner handed over a cheque of Rs 450 million to State Minister Hon @kanakadh, in the gracious presence of Hon @SagalaRatnayaka today for SLUDI (Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity Project) project, which is being implemented through grant assistance by Govt of #India,” the Indian High Commission in Colombo posted on platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

The project aims to collect biographic and biometric information, including facial, iris, and fingerprint data, which will be stored in a centralised system to issue identification cards as per the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The implementation of the project would lead to more effective and efficient delivery of government services, poverty reduction and welfare programmes; financial inclusion through better access to banking and other products/services.

The project commenced with the signing of a MoU between Sri Lanka and India in March 2022 and an Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Project Monitoring Committee (JPMC) for the Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity Project (SL-UDI) was introduced.

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The Government of India is overseeing the software development for the SL-UDI.

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