The Consular Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs won an award in the category of ‘‘government and citizen engagement’’, at the Seventh e-Swabhimani 2017 awards ceremony, held at the Hotel Galadari in Colombo on Thursday, 30th November 2017. The award was in recognition of the Division’s Electronic Document Attestation System (e-DAS), which was developed to integrate greater citizen engagement in consular services and deliver innovative digital solutions to the public.
The online e-DAS enables the Consular Affairs Division to effectively serve more than 450 persons a day, and reduce processing and waiting time per document to a maximum of one hour, in contrast to the previous manual system, whereby a minimum of four hours was required to process and attest one document. The e-DAS has helped greatly reduce the time taken for document attestation and provide more efficient and effective service delivery to the public seeking these consular services.
The Consular Division continues to look at ways and means to improve and streamline services being provided to the public. Since the launch of the e-DAS on 06th February 2017, to date, more than 250,000 documents have been attested for the public. With the reduction of processing time, it has been estimated that approximately a total of 750,000 hours (250,000 documents multiplied by 3 hours of saved processing time for each document) have been saved with the streamlined system provided for attestation of documents through the e-DAS.
In 2009, e-Swabhimani was launched as an initiative of the Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka aiming at recognizing excellence in creating digital applications which make definite social impacts in solving the real needs of people. This year the e-Swabhimani attracted a record number of 205 submissions, and these were accepted across nine categories, including government and citizen engagement.
The awarding of the e-Swabhimani award to the Consular Affairs Division, is the fourth award that the Division had won in the past few months. In October 2017, the Consular Affairs Division was awarded the Public Sector Most Outstanding ICT Achievement Award; the Gold Award in the Government and Public Sector Category at the 19th National Best Quality ICT awards and the Asian Oceanian Computing Industry Organization (ASOCIO) Award for Digital Government.
Mrs. Grace Asirwatham, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. S.S. Ganegama Arachchi, Senior Director General of the Consular Affairs Division and the officials of the Division attended the awards ceremony and represented the Ministry.