Giving options

Published : 12:00 am  April 2, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  433 views  |  

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$ 100 million loan to the Sri Lankan Government to provide Vocational and Technical Training (VTT) to foster employment opportunities for youth and provide trained employees to the private sector. Such moves are indicative that the once conveyor-belted road to university is slowly changing. Sri Lankan parents in general have dreams of their children becoming doctors, engineers, accountants or lawyers. Other options are seen as less prestigious or stable and most children are actively discouraged from taking a different route. However, changing economic demands as well as opportunities for technical workers abroad have served to change this state... 


Playing the numbers

Published : 1:00 am  April 1, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  631 views  |  

An election is a game of numbers. Despite sweeping the Southern and Western Provincial Council polls in what was very much an expected result, the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) nonetheless showed a dent in its still-formidable armour. The party polled about 200,000 votes less than it did during the previous elections in 2009 and the drop in popularity can be plausibly traced to several reasons. Word on the street is that cost of living has become too much of a burden. Regardless of the significant infrastructure improvement around the country, it is telling that a region such as President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s electorate that has since 2008 gained a brand spanking new highway,... 


Fishing for goodwill

Published : 12:00 am  March 31, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  455 views  |  

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to release Indian fishermen in local custody for poaching as a “goodwill” gesture after India abstained from voting on the third resolution presented at the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has angered some local fishermen. They feel that without the leverage provided by the fishermen in custody, talks between the two parties will cave in. However, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne believes the President’s decision to release all Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody will further help strengthen relations between both countries. Nonetheless, the release of the fishermen has not resulted in any... 


Vote time

Published : 12:00 am  March 29, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  459 views  |  

It’s an eventful time. On Friday Sri Lankans woke up to find Sri Lanka facing an investigation from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights after the UNHRC resolution passed. Today they will face a provincial election that has had the worst violence in the campaigning stage since 2008. Both are laced with politics and will have an impact on the future. Whipped up with patriotic frenzy, it is likely that the Government will win with even a larger margin than it could have hoped for. But it does not say much for political rights, which is a component for overall human rights that was at the core of the resolution passed at UNHRC. While the Government is no doubt looking at offsetting... 


Export expectations

Published : 12:00 am  March 28, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  468 views  |  

SRI LANKA’S exports are shining with double digit growth, kicking off 2014 with 23.2% in January to US$ 898 million and increasing hope for a landmark year. However, there are still many regulatory and practical hurdles that need to be ironed out if the country is to reach the US$ 12 billion mark in December for US$ 20 billion in 2020. High electricity costs, unproductive labour laws, high finance costs and low Budget allocations for investment in research and development are among the main reasons for flagging exports. A knotty regulatory framework, unstained policies and even complicated EPF and ETF systems are all among the bottlenecks highlighted by experts at various times. Exporters have... 


Creating believers

Published : 12:00 am  March 27, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  436 views  |  

As the hours ticked down to a vote on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) vote, President Mahinda Rajapaksa expanded the years of investigation under the Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe people who disappeared during the conflict. Evidently the Government was reacting to the latest draft of the UNHRC resolution continuing to focus only on the last phase of the war. In doing so, many suicides bombings carried out by the LTTE as well as the involvement of India will continue to be kept out of the international context framed for Sri Lanka’s conflict. The Government has maintained it is “grossly unfair” for the 1983-1990 period to be kept out of the discussion and now it... 


Hanging in the balance

Published : 12:01 am  March 26, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,456 views  |  

Reinstating the death penalty in Sri Lanka has gained public attention yet again, with many people visiting the Bogambara Prison advocating its return. Yet there are significant hurdles to such a step in Sri Lanka’s mired legal system. On the surface the argument for the death penalty is a simple one. Crimes and the level of violence in Sri Lanka have undoubtedly increased. Therefore the death penalty is seen as a deterrent and, in the cases of child abuse and rapists, a worthy form of retribution. There have been and always will be cases of executions of innocent people. No matter how developed a justice system is, it will always remain susceptible to human failure. Unlike prison sentences,... 


We are what we eat

Published : 12:00 am  March 25, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  659 views  |  

AS the days count down for the festive season, stores are already putting products on sale and among these is quality. This is the cue for the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) to step into the streets and protect the public. But how effectively is this being done? The CAA, during sporadic times in the year, struts out to shops with the aim of preventing hoarding and adulteration of essential items. Their forays in recent months have unearthed shocking instances where thousands of kilos of sprats, onions, flour and other goods have been imported with the intention of mixing with wholesome food and sold at exorbitant prices. The sheer scale of this business shows that powerful people with political... 


Pension panic?

Published : 12:25 am  March 24, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  590 views  |  

THE Government is introducing a new scheme where the gratuity payments of public servants will be rolled out as state bank loans. This is expected to clear a backlog of Rs. 7 billion in payments to 14, 000 pensioners as well as offset future commitments arising from a rapidly aging service. Currently the Government pays more than Rs. 140 billion in pensions. Since the Rajapaksa regime came into power, the numbers in the public service have more than doubled, reaching 1.3 million as of December 2012. In other words, one in every 15 of the total population is now on the Government payroll. Most of the increases have been reported in security forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and Civil Defence),... 


Water war

Published : 12:00 am  March 22, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  326 views  |  

Water, many people predict, will cause the next Great War, such is its increasing importance in a world scorched of resources. At home of course such dire predictions have failed to cause alarm because by global standards Sri Lanka continues to be blessed by Mother Nature’s bounty. But the question of quality and the sustaining of this precious resource needs attention if the country is to remain inclusive in its access to water. Although 84% of Sri Lankans have access to improved water sources, Sri Lanka needs to focus on improving the quality of drinking water, the UN Children’s agency UNICEF has said marking the United Nations’ annual World Water Day. Almost four years after the world... 


Page 31 of 138« First...1020...2930313233...405060...Last »