Sunset for State enterprises

Published : 12:05 am  July 15, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  1 Comment  |  1,033 views  |  
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The riddle of everlasting life It is a sad phenomenon of our times that enterprises fuelled by taxpayers’ money have a tendency to act contrary to nature and go on forever and ever. It is the nature of all things in this world that change is the only constant. Nothing, no entity whatever, can survive, if it cannot adapt to the changing environment in which it operates. The dinosaur is the prime example. We in Asia know well what happens to political and regal dynasties which set themselves up for eternal rule. The dustbin of history is where they end up, with the occasional plaintive squeak, of a revival, once in a while, just to reinforce the point, that nothing is eternal! The survival... 

Illegal deposit takers: Time for a crackdown?

Published : 12:45 am  July 8, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  5 Comments  |  1,312 views  |  
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Recent newspaper reports carried a story on one more financial pyramid scheme, allegedly called ‘Pandora Advertising’ in Tangalle, allegedly modelled on another in Tissamaharama, ‘Luminous Advertising,’ both in the Hambantota District. A pyramid scheme is one by which an unauthorised deposit taker offers high interest rates to gullible depositors, paying off early depositors, with funds deposited by later depositors and at some point decamps with the money. Charles Ponzi, an Italian American is said to have invented the scheme in New York in 1920. But author Charles Dickens, both in his 1844 novel Martin Chuzzelwit and 1857 novel Little Dorrit, wrote about such schemes. The CBSL it is... 

The World Corruption Cup

Published : 12:00 am  July 1, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,293 views  |  
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The ‘chewy’ beautiful game – Brazil 2014 The world’s attention is focused on the Football World Cup tournament being played out in Brazil. Once in every four years, the media’s attention worldwide is ritually drawn to this international tournament which decides the world champions for the sport. This time however, Uruguay’s Luis ‘Chewy’ Suarez’s bite into Italian Giorgio Chiellini shoulder has distracted the public! Chewy has done this twice before and also used his hands to save a goal in the 2010 World Cup against Ghana and was sin binned! ‘Chewy’ has been suspended from football participation for four months and a nine-match international ban was imposed by FIFA. The... 

Life and debt

Published : 12:01 am  June 24, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  3,202 views  |  
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A debt crisis in the north east? Recently in Colombo there was an event at which a research study entitled ‘Life and Debt’ was presented. The study was by the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA), initiated and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC). The purpose of the study was to understand whether the Owner-Driven Housing Assistance (ODHA) scheme, being implemented with donor support in post-conflict north and east of Sri Lanka, increased indebtedness of beneficiary households and the implications of such debt on the level of vulnerability of the households to economic shocks. The study was on a sample of 347 households in the Districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi and... 

From Na-Mo to P.M.O.

Published : 12:00 am  June 17, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  2,120 views  |  
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The Modi Aandhi (Storm) The resounding chant by the massive crowds who gathered at BJP rallies in Northern India’s ‘Cow Belt,’ the Hindutva conservative base, ranging on a north-south axis from the states of Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, parts of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, parts of Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and parts of Karnataka, which greeted the arrival of the helicopter carrying BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to rallies, there and throughout India, was ‘Na Mo-Na Mo,’ an acronym for Narendranath Damodardas Modi. How Na Mo structured a journey from the remote village of Vadnagar, about 100 km from Ahmadabad to the Prime Minister’s... 

The federalisation of Ukraine

Published : 12:22 am  May 6, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  5,047 views  |  
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A comparison with Sri Lanka and India Russia moved in its troops, without any national, formation or regimental markings on their uniforms, mounted on Russian vehicles and bearing state-of-the-art Russian weapons and communication equipment, into the Southern Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and rapidly annexed the region into the Russian Federation. The United Nations General Assembly condemned the move, and at the UN Security Council, Russia vetoed a Resolution condemning the move. China abstained from voting in the Security Council. While the troops were in place in Crimea, a referendum was conducted in which the majority of Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation. Slights to the status... 

Microfinance: Rehabilitated

Published : 12:00 am  April 29, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  3 Comments  |  7,878 views  |  
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Confusion in Batticaloa The dynamic development of Microfinance (MF) worldwide continues. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently created history, by granting for the first time a banking license to a microfinance organisation – Bandhan Financial Services. Bandhan was set up in 2001, based in Kolkata and works with ‘socially disadvantaged and economically exploited women’. It has 2,016 branches across 22 states. In February 2014 Bandhan had over 5,233,000 borrowers and in February 2014 had disbursed Indian Rs. 963 crores of loans. The total loans outstanding are Indian Rs. 5,704 crores. The RBI in a statement said that it had assessed the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the application,... 

Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Cause

Published : 12:20 am  April 22, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  2 Comments  |  1,644 views  |  
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Policy paralysis It is reported that Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Cause (CKDu) is decimating the young male population of the North Central Province, parts of Uva Province and even reportedly in the Central Province, North Western Province and Eastern Province. A case study has found, together with anecdotal evidence, that the most vulnerable group are men over 40 years of age, who have been working as rice farmers for over a decade. A hypothesis has emerged that consistent exposure to agro chemicals, combined with hard work in the hot sun, dehydration, hard water, and allegedly, in addition, heavy consumption of illicit liquor, among factors combined with others is the cause for this... 

Accountable government

Published : 12:01 am  April 8, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,335 views  |  
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The liberal democratic model The events concerning Sri Lanka at the UNHRC at Geneva have focused our minds on the issue of the accountability of a government. A liberal democracy is, by any objective standard, the only system of governance which has within it the checks and balances, mechanisms, processes and procedures that can, up to some extent even, provide for a responsive system of government, where the rulers have even a modicum of accountability to the people they govern. But it is not perfect. A liberal democratic system of government wherein the government is accountable to the governed has been described by analysts and commentators, as the only form of government suitable for grownups!... 

Fishy politics in Palk Bay

Published : 1:04 am  April 1, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  Leave a Comment  |  4,772 views  |  
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Indian Prime Minister stakes Domestic politics in Lanka and imminent Parliamentary elections in India have brought into sharp focus the issue of fishing in Palk Bay. The Government in Colombo seems unable to reconcile itself to conceding a role for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) controlled Northern Provincial Council (NPC) in dealing with India on this issue; only Ministers from Delhi, Colombo and Chennai, Tamil Nadu State and not the NPC have met on this issue. Recently a group of Lankan fishers from the Jaffna Peninsula met with their counterparts from Tamil Nadu, in India to have a discussion on the issue of alleged poaching by Tamil Nadu fishers in the Lankan waters of Palk Bay. The... 

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