The power of experimentation

Published : 12:00 am  February 12, 2015  |  Category: Ajith de Alwis  |  Leave a Comment  |  398 views  |  
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Being a researcher is not an occupation that many of us seek. Sri Lanka may have many market researchers, but the number for scientific researchers is very much short of our needs. It is indeed sad that this state of affairs has risen as having a vibrant research base can yield so much to an economy. If we do possess a strong research culture, I dare state that the current prevailing kidney disease sweeping many a district would not have risen to this stage of a national calamity. Even after so many years of witnessing death and destruction through this kidney disease of unknown etiology, we still do not have a focused collaborative national effort directed to resolve the issue. Listening to... 

Dominant prime minister, subordinate president

Published : 12:00 am  February 11, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  927 views  |  
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 Analysing the draft proposals for Constitutional reform “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception” – Carl Schmitt The proposed changes to the Constitution entitled ‘Discussion Paper on Constitutional Reforms’ ( have both good and bad aspects, of which the bad clearly outweigh the good, since they are on matters of grave strategic national importance. What is good in the draft proposals are the changes pertaining to   The Independent Commissions The Office of the Auditor General Guarantee of the Right to Information It is ironic that some members of the present... 

Super gains and real pains of the private corporate sector

Published : 12:00 am  February 11, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  3 Comments  |  521 views  |  
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There is no question of how much the corporate sector will be hurt due to the Super Gain Tax imposed by the Interim Budget on last year’s pre-tax profit and the impact it will have on cash outflow to the firms falling within the over Rs. 2 billion net profit tag. As stated by many, this is indeed a ‘Sura Saradial’ or ‘Robin Hood’ budget.   Facing economic Robin Hoods What hurts the corporate sector more is, apart from getting ready to pay the Super Gain Tax, they have been branded as entities that indulged in super undue revenue generation. The corporate sector should take the blame themselves for this status quo. I have advocated during the last few decades of my engagement in... 

Moragahakanda Project for north-south reconciliation

Published : 12:00 am  February 11, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  554 views  |  
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President Maithripala Sirisena on an inspection tour of the Moragahakanda Irrigation Project recently – Pic by Sudath Silva     Rainfall in the central highlands of Sri Lanka has been flowing down the Mahaweli River into the Indian Ocean at Trincomalee from ancient times. Soon after Independence, ways of utilising the Mahaweli for providing water to the dry northern areas was investigated. According to the Mahaweli Master Plan of 1958, the development of Mahaweli was to be implemented as three projects; (a) Polgolla Diversion during 1969-’73; (b) Victoria-Minipe Diversion during 1973-1977; and (c) Moragahakanda Multi-Purpose Reservoir during 1977-’80, to provide irrigation facilities... 

Wimal’s broadside on Basil and Maithri-Ranil Govt.

Published : 12:00 am  February 11, 2015  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Columnists  |  26 Comments  |  5,197 views  |  
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Basil Rajapaksa wanted President Rajapaksa defeated and he worked closely with international forces to oust his brother, claims controversial politician Wimal Weerawansa. “Basil Rajapaksa did every possible thing to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa. If it wasn’t for Basil we would have won the election,” Weerawansa added. He also noted that the country was in danger and the situation would worsen in the months to come. “All we need is a true leader to save our motherland from these forces. We don’t see any other leader who can save our country, only Mahinda Rajapaksa can do this.” Following are excerpts:         Q: Tell us about the new political front to be formed with... 

Electoral system reforms: Why and how?

Published : 1:12 am  February 10, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  5 Comments  |  558 views  |  
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I teach about “policy windows,” or particular periods when multiple factors align to create opportunities for change. What we now have in Sri Lanka is a “Constitutional window,” a three-month interregnum between elections where needed Constitutional reforms can be enacted. The 17th Amendment was almost unanimously approved in similar circumstances in October 2001. It took another 14 years for the next Constitutional window to open. If this opportunity is not seized, who knows when the next one will open?     Why reform? Many aspects of the rules by which we govern ourselves require reform. Broad consensus exists that the way we elect Members of Parliament requires reform. A... 

Ceylon Tea requires a strong marketing drive

Published : 1:11 am  February 10, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Rohantha Athukorala  |  4 Comments  |  720 views  |  
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In this age, the lifeline of the world is the brands that a company owns. If we examine the tea industry, it’s strange but the top 10 destinations for Ceylon Tea in the 1960s, 1985 and in 2010 are continuously changing. Every 15 years the industry is challenged with the task to find new markets and develop a new relationship with consumers, which is the most costly exercise with which one is challenged in a business. In 1960 the top five markets were UK, Australia, USA, Iraq and South Africa. In 1985 the top five were replaced with Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and UK falling to No. 5 position at 13.4 million kilograms of tea from the 69.1 million kilograms it did way back in 1960. By the... 

Getting fiscal policy right

Published : 1:07 am  February 10, 2015  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  521 views  |  
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The country is emerging from a dark age, during which the National Budget and taxpayer’s money was treated like a virtual slush fund for the ruling dynasty and its hangers on. Accountability, fiscal responsibility, rational monetary policy and good governance was not in the lexicon of the ruling cohort and their bureaucratic and political collaborators. Policy was directed by political expediency, astrologers, who on their own admission, ex post facto, were afraid of telling the truth of what the stars foretold, due to the fear of physical assault, and corrupt bum sucking “ass liquors”. The painful task of auditing the national accounts and getting to the bottom of the real parameters of... 

A lean democracy through converged Parliament and Provincial Councils

Published : 12:44 am  February 10, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  692 views  |  
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A mixed electoral system reforms proposition for the 100 day program At a time when constitutional reforms are high on the agenda, an electoral reform proposal which could be practically implemented under 100 day program has emerged. Election of a total of 250 electoral members to both the Parliament and provincial councils through a single national election is the salient feature of this proposal. The writer has submitted a proposal to the National Executive Council, Elections Commissioner and leaders of all major political parties   Proportional representation system is to be reformed and notorious preferential voting system is certain to be abolished under the 100-day program of the newly... 

“This is not a case for no confidence motion”: Amaratunga

Published : 12:26 am  February 10, 2015  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Columnists  |  5 Comments  |  1,422 views  |  
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  Minister of Public Order and Disaster Management John Amaratunga is confident the no-faith motion against him will not be presented in Parliament. “To win it (no confidence motion), they must bring it before the Parliament. That might not happen at all. In three months’ time, there is dissolution in any case,” Amaratunga said, in an interview with the Daily FT. He added: “I strongly believe that this is not a case for no confidence motion. There is a fight with minor injuries. They say the Police did not take adequate action. Are these grounds for a no confidence motion?” Following are excerpts of the interview:                           Q:... 

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