From a bloated public service to higher productivity, incomes for public servants

Published : 12:00 am  May 23, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  701 views  |  

The Pathfinder Foundation Economic Alert Historical legacy Since the mid-’60s, the public service has been subject to a high degree of politicisation under successive regimes. During the ’70s and ’80s, the public service cadre and recruitment procedures went through many changes primarily to serve the partisan objectives. Even during the so-called economic liberalisation phase, our political leaders continued to appoint increasing numbers of party supporters, friends and even relatives disregarding well-known and accepted management practices. Since 2005, the country has experienced a dramatic increase of the public service from 600,000 to 1.4 m. Pros and cons of the ballooning public service An... 


Southeast Asia and the global economy

Published : 12:00 am  May 23, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion, Razeen Sally  |  Leave a Comment  |  974 views  |  
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What is the economic outlook for Southeast Asia at a time of general growth slowdown in emerging markets, and when global monetary conditions are set to tighten? Is it realistic to talk of a “regional” outlook, given extreme intra-regional diversity? That begs another question: Is ASEAN economic integration pushing the region to becoming a more distinctive collective entity in the global economy? Our starting point must be Southeast Asia’s extreme economic diversity. The gap in living standards between the richest and poorest countries (Singapore and Myanmar respectively) is 40-to-1. Singapore is a services-based economy; Brunei is oil-based; Malaysia and Thailand are fast industrialisers;... 


Vae victis

Published : 12:09 am  May 22, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians, Opinion  |  5 Comments  |  2,033 views  |  
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The double-edged sword  that is ‘Victory Day’     Beside the aquamarine seas of Keerimalai, at the island’s northernmost tip stands a Hindu holy of holies. One of five Sivan kovils in Sri Lanka, the unique convergence of land, sea and freshwater have etched the significance of the Naguleswaram temple into the Hindu psyche for millennia. For Hindus, the waters here are doubly sacred. The devoted believe freshwater springs at the site have divine curative properties and the ocean waves lapping at the temple grounds aid the passage of departed souls. For centuries, northern Hindus have travelled to Naguleswaram to scatter the ashes of the deceased into the seas of Keerimalai.... 


How young Sri Lankans see peace

Published : 12:00 am  May 21, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  613 views  |  

By Amantha Perera IRIN: Five years after Sri Lankan forces declared victory over the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) who had fought for an independent Tamil homeland since 1983, overcoming the divisions caused by the decades-long civil war remains a work in progress. According to human rights groups, national reconciliation continues to be tested by an official triumphalism (on full display at a victory parade in Colombo on 18 May to mark the anniversary of the end of the war), the continued militarisation of the north, a deepening authoritarianism, as well as rising religious extremism among militant Buddhist groups against Hindus and Muslims. The international community is pressing the Government on its... 


Sri Lanka’s existing plague: Why are authorities mum on CKDU?

Published : 12:00 am  May 21, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  2,659 views  |  

By a Special Correspondent From 1990s-2014 what has happened so far? Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown aetiology (CKDU) has plagued the farmers of the North Central Province of Sri Lanka since the 1990s. Analysts claim that thousands have died due to this dreaded disease and some estimate as many as two persons succumb to CKDU every day in Sri Lanka. It is high time that the medical community and the health authorities come up with some answers to this burning issue. Many hypotheses have been put forward by the learned people of Sri Lanka, as possible causes of CKDU. We have gone full circle from a hypothesis which first claimed that consumption of lotus roots and smoking tobacco could be the... 


102-year jail sentence for tax official

Published : 12:00 am  May 20, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  318 views  |  

The recent judgment fining a top tax official Rs. 12 billion and giving a jail sentence of 100 years should be a wakeup call for all public servants to manage their affairs according to the book. We have had many cases where when the boss changed, all the transactions conducted get scrutinised at the highest levels and officials end up on the mat for doing what the boss wanted. In religion we learn that nothing is permanent and what goes up must come down. If our public servants can work for the welfare of the public instead of their political bosses, they could save themselves from a lot of grief. The recent scandal in the EPF where the fund managers keep issuing statements saying what a good... 


Sri Lankan war widows still struggle to support their families

Published : 12:00 am  May 20, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  1,566 views  |  

By Amantha Perera THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION: When Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war ended in May 2009 after raging for over two and half decades, it signalled the end of a long- running national nightmare. But, with many men killed, for thousands of women the war’s end meant the beginning of a new life of hardship. Viji, a 32-year-old widow from the village of Oddusuddan, deep in the northern Mullaitivu District where the last battles of the war were fought, lost her farmer husband in a shell attack and has been struggling to raise her three children alone. “It is hard. I have to work, look after household affairs and make sure the kids go to school,” said Viji, who goes by one name.  Before... 


Canadian High Commissioner boycotting Victory Day celebrations

Published : 12:00 am  May 20, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,857 views  |  

I read with interest the statement made by the Canadian High Commissioner that she will not participate in the Victory Day Celebrations because she is very keen that Sri Lanka should enjoy peace and reconciliation as soon as possible. While welcoming her interest in ushering peace into Sri Lanka, may I request the Canadian Government through its peace-loving Ambassador here to kindly support the peace process further with the following initiatives as well: (a) Stop fund raising by ex-LTTErs who are today masquerading as human rights activists in various parts of Canada.  It is well known that these funds are used by them to “enlist” certain Canadian politicians to bash Sri Lanka. (b) Help... 


Commemoration controversy and the accountability trap

Published : 12:00 am  May 19, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  2 Comments  |  1,040 views  |  
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If Germany can celebrate its Reunification Day, when the Berlin Wall fell and the two halves of Germany were reunited, why should Sri Lanka not celebrate the day when the LTTE’s Iron Curtain was destroyed, a radical evil defeated, a monster (a South Asian Hitler) slain and the island reunified after decades? Not every reunification is peaceful. In most cases the unification or reunification of the national territory and state required civil wars, as we know from Bismark’s Prussian unification of Germany through “blood and iron”, Italy’s Risorgimento and the history of most of Europe, not to mention the military campaigns of Sun Yat Sen and the Kuomintang which reunified China. Which... 


Sri Lanka’s economic comeback

Published : 12:00 am  May 17, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  643 views  |  

An economic renaissance for South Asia’s ‘finest island’ hinges on a visionary green tourist policy By Zarina Banu: Rattling through the streets of Colombo in a tuktuk offers a clear eyeline of a city brimming with construction sites for five star hotels, glossy frontages for international clothes chains and 4 x 4s charging past like elephants on a rampage. The Sri Lankan capital is clearly in the thick of an economic renaissance. This sizzle of prosperity was notably absent five years ago in May 2009, when the government crushed the separatist LTTE, better known as the Tamil Tigers, after a brutal 26-year old civil war. Now another battle to hold Sri Lankan Government forces and the... 


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