Wage war

Published : 12:00 am  April 17, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  685 views  |  

Trade unions have submitted nine proposals to the National Pay Commission appointed by the President to assist the Government in formulating a National Wage Policy and provide more security and equitable distribution of wealth within the country. The trade unions have proposed a national minimum wage for private sector employees and to implement an unemployment benefit insurance scheme as well as a pension scheme for Employees Provident Fund members and a social security scheme for the informal sector. Another proposal is to set up a National Wages Commission for the private sector. One of the highlights of the 2014 Budget was the formation of a special commission to formulate a national wage... 


Against the tide?

Published : 1:47 am  April 16, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  714 views  |  

Talks between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka’s fishermen have been given the nod after months of diplomatic uncertainty. The Indian Central Government has publicly declared the delay was caused by feet dragging on the side of Chief Minister Jayalalitha. The outcome of the talks remain in limbo as frostiness remains between the two sides despite President Rajapaksa’s move to release Indian fishermen in the aftermath of the United Nations Human Rights (UNHRC) vote. The move had angered some local fishermen who feel without the leverage provided by the fishermen in custody, talks between the two parties will cave in. Another reason for the trepidation is the fact that Indian fishermen continued to... 


Prove beyond resilience

Published : 12:00 am  April 12, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  740 views  |  

Many are the expectations of a New Year, but there are more than a few elements that the Government and the people need to get right before real development will become a reality. On a macro level, there is the ever-present need to promote democracy, good governance, and law and order. The importance of the latter can hardly be overstated in a country that is burdened by high levels of corruption and crime. The culture of impunity with which the powerful achieve their agendas at the cost of the rest of the country needs to be corrected through urgent reforms. Perhaps the overarching concern is the state of law and order, which is routinely flouted and undermined with very serious results. As... 


Implement rules

Published : 12:00 am  April 11, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  1 Comment  |  37,073 views  |  

MOTORCYCLISTS will now have to drive with their headlights on during the daytime, a move that is expected to reduce accidents by increasing the visibility of motorcyclists. But it is questionable whether this step will result in a significant reduction as road discipline and obedience to rules still remain largely ignored. In the first five months of last year 11,691 accidents have been reported, out of which 1,901 accidents resulted in severe injuries. An estimated 500 people were killed due to major accidents during the same period in 2013. According to the numbers released by Police, 25,578 road accidents were reported for the first nine months of 2012. This makes the average number of accidents... 


Walking the talk

Published : 12:49 am  April 10, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  37,311 views  |  

Walking is becoming increasingly hazardous in Sri Lanka with the growing number of pedestrian casualties exacerbated both by lack of awareness and inconsiderate infrastructure policies that cost lives. For years the Sri Lankan Government has been laying out asphalt as if their lives depended on it and perhaps they are right for infrastructure development is one of the plus points for the establishment to win elections. However, during that same time a disturbing trend has emerged where pavements, crossing lines, overhead walkways and other pedestrian safety features have vanished from the roadsides. Newly-laid or repaired roads are done without due consideration to pedestrian needs. Pavements,... 


Realise RTI

Published : 12:00 am  April 9, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  1 views  |  

FINANCE Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera at the launch of the Central Bank Annual Report centred his speech on the need to promote the Right to Information by timely reporting of finances by State enterprises. He suggested existing regulations and procedures adequately meet the ends of a RTI and told heads of public institutions that public trust could only be attained through consistent dissemination of correct data on public finances. This is of course very true. The taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent. But it is rather ironic that Right to Information (RTI) has been stemmed in Sri Lanka by the present Government, which has repeatedly stifled attempts to bring transparency... 


A second chance

Published : 12:01 am  April 8, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  2 Comments  |  36,274 views  |  

For the first time since 1996 Sri Lanka has managed to lift a World Cup, giving jubilant fans bragging rights and the rare chance to celebrate something truly worthwhile. That is the magic of cricket in this tiny island nation, it is the glue that will always bring complete strangers together and give hope that, at least this time, the authorities will clean up the game. As millions of fans leaped about in joy, lit firecrackers, clambered on spontaneous truck and three-wheeler parades and frenziedly waved flags about, there was a true moment of happiness. These same people will no doubt squeeze away from work, gather their families and stand under the blazing sun to welcome their heroes home... 


Making figures count

Published : 12:00 am  April 7, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  473 views  |  

Unemployment in Sri Lanka has dipped once again to 4.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the latest data released by the Department of Census & Statistics. No doubt this will give policy makers more bragging points but there are ongoing concerns over underemployment, salary levels and the continued brain drain that need to be added to create a balanced picture. The overall unemployment rate reported for females was 6.4% and it was 2.8% for males. The highest unemployment rate was reported from the G.C.E (A/L) and above group, which was about 8.1%. This shows the loopholes in the otherwise rosy figures. Clearly equitable employment opportunities are still lacking with women, especially... 


Stopping the stink?

Published : 12:00 am  April 5, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  886 views  |  

A former Kandy Pradeshiya Sabha member was arrested this week for smuggling Walla Patta, raising the growing need to regularise this special plant so that it can be used legally for economic benefit and conservation. Three Chinese and one Malaysian were arrested in January for transporting 12 kilograms of Walla Patta along with the Sri Lankan supplier. It is speculated that the herb was being sprinted away with the intention of being smuggled out of the country. In Sri Lanka, the stink of corruption emanates from the most scented of places. Walla Patta, or Gyrinops Walla as it is scientifically known, is an indigenous herb that is used to produce some of the finest perfumes in the world. Since... 


Power options

Published : 12:00 am  April 4, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  915 views  |  

First China, then India and now South Korea are partnering with Sri Lanka’s Government to boost power generation. The latest tie-up with Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) to develop projects in areas such as thermal power plants, renewables and power grids. According to media reports, KEPCO is keen to invest in Sri Lanka’s thermal power sector, which renews the discussion of the Government’s energy policies. Issues relating to energy are among the most important and difficult challenges confronting the world today. Providing sufficient energy to meet the requirements of a growing world population with rising living standards will require major advances in energy supply and efficiency; doing... 


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