Accountable government

Published : 12:01 am  April 8, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,202 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  |  2,974 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... 

The Crimean Precedent!

Published : 12:03 am  March 25, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,743 views  |  
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A sequel to Finlandisation and Bhutanisation? On Monday 17 March 2014, Vladimir Putin, ex of the KGB, Communist Russia’s autocrat, recognised Crimea as an independent state. A referendum had been held in Crimea, condemned as contrary to international law by the world community, at which an overwhelming majority of Crimean’s had allegedly voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. In the UN Security Council, Russia vetoed a resolution condemning Russia’s actions. Interestingly China abstained at this vote, breaking ranks with its erstwhile Russian ally. Both the European Union and the United States of America have urged Russia not to absorb Crimea into Russia, a step that undermines... 

China, Africa, Myanmar and Lanka

Published : 12:41 am  March 18, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  Leave a Comment  |  4,811 views  |  
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Lessons to be learnt An analyst has commented after reviewing the People’s Republic of China’s recent economic and political incursions into the continent of Africa that “Africa is China’s honey pot. Where else would China find political leaders so easy to buy!?” China has over the last 10 years carried out a sustained political and investment push into Africa. Visits have been made at the highest political level to several leading African countries; loans, grants and investments have been made in logistics and natural resources; and thousands of Chinese citizens have migrated to work, to carry on business and trade in African countries. There has also been, at the same time, large... 

Skills mismatch

Published : 12:12 am  March 11, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  3,082 views  |  
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The never ending saga of Sri Lanka’s job market The words skills mismatch entered Sri Lanka’s job market vocabulary after the first youth revolt in 1971. The Government of the day obtained the assistance of UNDP and ILO to get the services of Prof. Dudley Seers, Director of the Institute of Development Studies of the University of Sussex, England, to look into the reasons for youth unrest. In a groundbreaking report, Dr. Seers pinpointed the skills mismatch which existed in the Sri Lanka employment scene as the fundamental reason for the unrest. The process of education produced a type of youth whose skills were literacy in the national languages, some numeracy and knowledge in the humanities... 

Mad dog politics

Published : 12:01 am  March 4, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  3,577 views  |  
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The prospect of power drives politicians rabid Rabies is an infectious disease of dogs, cats, bats, monkeys, jackals and other animals and man, usually fatal if prophylactic treatment is not administered. It is caused by the virus Formido inexoribilis and usually transmitted to man by the bite of an infected animal. It is also called hydrophobia. Rabid is explained in the dictionary as: irrationally extreme in opinion or practice, furious or raging, violently intense, affected with or pertaining to rabies; mad. In neighbouring India, the prospect of achieving power in the Union Parliament elections scheduled to be held before May 2014 has really driven the Indian political class rabid. Just... 

Agency banking networks

Published : 12:00 am  February 25, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  4,492 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  |  7,483 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  |  3,371 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  |  5,472 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!).... 

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