Agency banking networks

Published : 12:00 am  February 25, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  1,886 views  |  
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Sri Lanka’s Praja Naya Niyamaka (PNN) Scheme Total Financial Inclusion (TFL) is the dream of all those who are concerned about exclusion of the poor, marginalised and displaced, from the formal financial sector. The poor, even when they manage to pull themselves out of poverty, often fall back into poverty when faced with a financial shock, with which they are unable to cope. They have to raise emergency funds to meet expenses connected to death, sickness, crop loss, livestock theft, etc. This is where micro insurance schemes can play a vital role. In the absence of micro insurance, the local money lender or pawn broker is the recourse if the victim is not a member of a group of micro savers... 


Consolidation and microfinance

Published : 12:01 am  February 18, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  Leave a Comment  |  2,236 views  |  
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Financial sector reforms Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (CBSSL) has detailed a road map for a process of consolidation of the financial sector. The position of the CBSL seems to be that the last quarter century has seen a number of events which justifies this consolidation. From 1988 to 1990, 13 Registered Finance Companies failed, 11 of which had to be liquidated. The failure of a business group affected eight non-bank financial institutions. Today there is much bazaar gossip about other registered finance companies which are rumoured to be in trouble. One point of view is that this is a reflection of the highly-fragmented structure of Sri Lanka’s financial system. However, there is another... 


Good governance and Rule of Law not found anywhere in the world?

Published : 12:15 am  February 11, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  1 Comment  |  1,771 views  |  
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Is this statement correct? A certain worthy, of professed legal eminence, is quoted in the media as having declared at an institute of higher learning that ‘good governance and the Rule of Law are very nice words, but I am not quite sure that they are found anywhere in the world!’ It would be worthwhile to critique this comment further. We are living in a nation in which the Constitution declares that “The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the Sate to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1) (e).” [Chapter II Article 9.] The Buddhist expression... 


Bhutan’s electric cars

Published : 12:01 am  February 4, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  Leave a Comment  |  2,170 views  |  
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Maximising the use of hydro power Energy costs are an issue for all South Asian nations. In Sri Lanka’s case, large hydro capacity is more or less exploited to the full. There is more space for mini hydro development but there are cost, purchase price and environmental issues. Solar, wind, wave, dendro, tidal and geo thermal as potential sources of power are almost in virgin condition, virtually unexploited, except for a few wind farms and limited solar applications. The technocrats, bureaucrats and politicians in the sector seem infatuated with coal and other fossil fuels, notwithstanding the high cost of fuel oil and the tragedy and/or farce of Norochcholai (26 breakdowns and counting!).... 


Financial services for small businesses and low income households

Published : 12:00 am  January 28, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  2,378 views  |  
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India’s RBI’s Mor Committee Report and ‘consolidation’ At a time when we are ‘consolidating ‘ our financial services sector, it is noteworthy that Sri Lanka has been battling for years on this vexed issue of providing an efficient and responsive system of financial services to small businesses and low income households. The initiatives go back to colonial times. The Co-operative Rural Banks have a history of over 100 years. Together with other co-operatives like Sanasa and co-operative agricultural and fishery lending institutions, these were designed to break the stranglehold the money lender and pawnbroker had on small entrepreneurs and low income households. Money lenders were... 


Lies, damned lies and statistics

Published : 12:01 am  January 21, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,403 views  |  
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Massaging the numbers The American author Mark Twain popularised this quote in his article ‘Chapters from My Autobiography,’ published in the magazine North American Review in 1906. Twain wrote: Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.’ However, it must be pointed out that, the phrase is not found in any of the former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s works and the earliest known appearances of the quotation were years after his death. Economist Robert Giffen writing in the Economic... 


Nepal’s ‘Cash’ and ‘Dash’ Maoists

Published : 12:01 am  January 14, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,776 views  |  
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Contempt for the political class grows World over, there is a growing revulsion among activist voters to the behaviour of the professional political class in their societies. The fulltime politician who has a no other occupation other than politics is a relatively new phenomenon in the political environment. In the past politics was a past time taken up by those who had economic security through some other field such as a profession, the legal or medical ones being the most common, land ownership or business. But as the amount of power the political class assigned to itself – by fair means and foul – over time increased rapidly, throwing the principles of good governance to the winds, the... 


Divi Neguma: A community-based development intervention

Published : 12:00 am  January 10, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,325 views  |  

Are rural agriculture and fishery communities excluded? The Divi Neguma Law which was enacted on 8 January 2013 by Parliament with a majority of 117 votes was operationalised on Friday 3 January 2014 by Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa signing the gazette notification for setting up the Divi Neguma Department. The department combines five organisations, including the Sri Lanka Samurdhi Authority, the Upcountry Development Authority (formerly the Kandyan Peasantry Commission of the D.S. Senanayake era) and the Southern Development Authority. All the employees of these organisations will become permanent and pensionable Government servants. Divi Neguma will serve 1.8 million... 


The Kejriwal Phenomenon

Published : 12:01 am  January 7, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  1,714 views  |  
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A corruption-free South Asia? A new thunderbolt has hit the political scene in South Asia. The South Asian voter after decades of being lied to and cheated by a class of self-serving professional politicians, a political class which has given a new meaning to the word parasite, since South Asia emerged from colonial bondage many moons ago, has today seen new hope in the Aam Admi Party (AAP) [the Common Man Party] of India led by Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, who swept the polls held recently. They won 28 of the 70 seats, pushing the ruling Congress down to eight seats and the BJP to 32. The AAP was launched on 26 November 2012. The party made its debut in the Delhi Legislative Assembly... 


2014: A year of change for women in business?

Published : 12:01 am  December 31, 2013  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  Leave a Comment  |  762 views  |  
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On 10 December 2013, as the year was drawing to a close, something unprecedented happened at Henry Ford’s venerable General Motors (GM). Mary Barra took the wheel, as CEO, to become the most powerful woman in the US car industry. Barra is one of a fast growing cadre of top female managers at GM; a quarter of its factory management are female. The cutting-edge technology electric vehicle program is driven by a woman. Barra has been described as ‘a coach, and that’s the sort of management style this company needs’ says David Cole of the Centre for Automotive Research. She takes over from Dan Akerson, a former military man, who leaves on a high note. His new Chevrolet Impala has been cited... 


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