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Bricks and tabs

Views - 5 Thursday, 27 June 2019 01:05

Cabinet this week approved providing tabs to all Advanced Level students, but it is worth considering whether this is the best use for taxpayer funds given the cost is estimated at Rs. 5.2 billion annually. For decades Sri Lanka has been used to the

Unfair practices

Views - 27 Wednesday, 26 June 2019 00:56

The Wennappuwa Pradeshiya Sabha has blocked Muslims from selling wares at the weekly fair in an illegal and blatantly racist move that is deeply problematic, especially given it is a Government institution. This is another dimension to boycotts of Mu

Dangerous policies

Views - 51 Tuesday, 25 June 2019 00:00

President Maithripala Sirisena is once again reported to be readying to implement the death penalty, raising concerns over implementing a policy that could have serious implications for Sri Lanka’s social, economic, political and judicial systems.

Defining the boundaries of power

Views - 33 Monday, 24 June 2019 00:00

President Maithripala Sirisena has gone on record saying that the 18th and 19th Amendments to the Constitution need to be removed, as in his view they have not benefited Sri Lanka. In the run-up to the Presidential Election, amidst fervent speculat

Education is not a race

Views - 59 Saturday, 22 June 2019 00:01

The Government has announced an end to giving island rankings to students passing the Grade Five scholarship exams to reduce competition. The move is a positive one as it prevents children from being unnecessarily high

Greening the financial system

Views - 41 Friday, 21 June 2019 00:00

The Central Bank this week launched a new roadmap to make Sri Lanka’s financial system more open to funding projects and policies crucial to improve climate resilience and combat climate change. Earlier this year, Sri Lanka was categorised as one

Samurdhi and poverty

Views - 65 Thursday, 20 June 2019 00:00

The news report that an 11-month infant had died of starvation in Thissamaharama is shocking in a country that prides itself on its welfare and Buddhist principles. The public service is a structure that is supposed to be aware when these instances

Dairy dilemma

Views - 80 Wednesday, 19 June 2019 00:05

Losses of State-Owned Enterprises growing has already been flagged by the Finance Ministry but it is worth seeing why these losses occur and what can be done to stem them. It has been reported that Milco Ltd., a State-run firm, has slipped further in

Retirement planning for all

Views - 74 Tuesday, 18 June 2019 00:00

The Finance Ministry has unveiled plans to remove pension anomalies from 500,000 retired public servants from next month with Rs. 12 billion earmarked for the change. The Government policy, which clearly targets upcoming elections, shows how difficul

Security and rights

Views - 65 Monday, 17 June 2019 00:00

The Government is proposing several new measures including fresh regulations with tougher punishments for fake news, a new cyber security bill, and plans to set up a comprehensive data base with extensive details of citizens. They have also said that

Parenting change

Views - 44 Saturday, 15 June 2019 04:34

Father’s Day also falls on the same day this year in addition to Poson, which is perhaps an opportune moment to consider how important the role played by fathers is and how it is essential to encourage both parents to play an equal role in shoulder

Equitable access

Views - 48 Friday, 14 June 2019 00:00

The Human Rights Commission has written to Local Government authorities demanding they stop discriminating against the Muslim community when handing out access to public regulated places of business such as kiosks in weekly village fairs following co

A losing battle?

Views - 78 Thursday, 13 June 2019 00:00

State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are important to provide essential services, but their losses have doubled in the past year, prompting the Finance Ministry to rethink continued support. Sri Lanka has an abundance of SOEs, but their chronic underperfor

Pardons and consequences

Views - 67 Wednesday, 12 June 2019 00:00

President Maithripala Sirisena is in the headlines again for pardoning the former Warakapola Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman after he was sentenced to prison by the Supreme Court for bribery. The 18-year sentence, which was to be served in six years, had a

The Modi effect

Views - 87 Tuesday, 11 June 2019 00:00

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an expert at public relations and his flying visit to Sri Lanka on Sunday reinforced this characteristic. Most State visits that barely span five hours would have been limited to basic greetings but Modi’s whi

The challenge of transparency

Views - 75 Monday, 10 June 2019 00:00

There can be no accountability without transparency. This is why democracies have checks and balances in place to provide boundaries to power. However, in Sri Lanka these checks and balances are tenuous at best, with genuine accountability and respon

Stopping systemic failures

Views - 43 Saturday, 8 June 2019 00:01

Governments are complicated things, with State machinery and the public service usually bogged down by red tape, corruption, and mismanagement. Over decades, this can calcify into large-scale inefficiency with serious consequences, as was seen in the

Fake news and hate speech controls

Views - 145 Friday, 7 June 2019 00:00

Cabinet this week approved making amendments to the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to take legal action against fake news and hate speech, including statements that impact national security and incite violence between communities, with punish

Will he, won’t he?

Views - 125 Thursday, 6 June 2019 00:00

President Maithripala Sirisena has hit the headlines again for telling Cabinet members that he will not contest for a second term. During a chat after the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the President had broached the subject and said that he would not t

Let the law prevail

Views - 119 Wednesday, 5 June 2019 00:00

The resignation of eight Muslim members of the Government, including four Cabinet Ministers, on Monday was an unprecedented development in Sri Lanka’s political history. The political developments that began after the Easter Sunday attacks reached

Appeal for calm and coexistence

Views - 82 Tuesday, 4 June 2019 00:00

The country was once again on edge on Monday as Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera’s fast continued into the third day. Shops were forcefully closed in Kandy, Kalutara, Gampola, Kurunegala and other areas as fears of more inter-communal violence swept t

A date with destiny?

Views - 61 Monday, 3 June 2019 00:00

President Maithripala Sirisena’s statement to Indian media that presidential elections have been scheduled for 7 December has refocused attention on presidential elections. Political speculation is once again swirling to understand what this could

PSCs and transparency

Views - 37 Saturday, 1 June 2019 00:01

The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to investigate the Easter Sunday attacks held its first sitting earlier this week, triggering a debate on transparency versus national security. This has started a new discourse on how much the publi

Jobs for growth

Views - 59 Friday, 31 May 2019 00:00

The real impact of Sri Lanka’s sluggish economy and Easter Sunday attacks is felt on jobs. As many companies freeze recruitments and salaries till better times come around, it is worth looking at how the economy can generate jobs that will be less

Growth challenges

Views - 64 Thursday, 30 May 2019 00:00

Sri Lanka’s first quarter import and export numbers released by the Central Bank this week reinforce what people have already known for a while, which is that the economy has been sluggish well before the Easter Sunday attacks. As much as half of i

Changes that count

Views - 50 Wednesday, 29 May 2019 00:00

As a possible presidential election edges closer, the Government is preparing to roll out an expansion of the Samurdhi program, increasing recipients by more than half a million people. But will this expansion really assist the poorest of the poor ef

Look beyond infrastructure

Views - 51 Tuesday, 28 May 2019 00:00

The Government has launched the ‘Palmyrah Fund’ worth Rs. 5 billion to develop the North and East Provinces with funds to be used on construction of roads, bridges, drainage systems, and other forms of infrastructure. It is reminiscent of the lar

A second chance for tourism? 

Views - 100 Monday, 27 May 2019 00:00

Since the Easter Sunday attacks, reams of space have been given as to how Sri Lanka’s tourism industry can be helped through this rough patch and restored to the golden heights it occupied before 21 April. Despite the tourism industry’s success

Carving out voter bases

Views - 53 Saturday, 25 May 2019 00:01

Sri Lankans who believe in co-existence and communal harmony watched with trepidation as controversial monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero was released from Welikada Prison by President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday. When Sri Lanka needed Preside

Shifting political lines

Views - 42 Friday, 24 May 2019 00:00

Political trends can sometimes transcend national borders. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won a second term in power, beating out the Congress Party in a larger margin than he did in 2014. The final vote count even has Congress Leader Rahul

Today's Columnists

Soaring heights of NPLs in banking

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Capital inadequacy, political interference, abuse of power, wasteful and unproductive expenditure, corrupt deals, circumventions of regulatory directions, unscrupulous lending operations, imposed IMF and WB conditions for reforms, and window-dressed

New Land Policy: Ideal alternate development strategy, but accompanying policies needed

Thursday, 27 June 2019

It is reported that the Government has prepared a law to grant freehold possession of farm land held under lease from the Government. This may be a revision of the Land Development Ordinance (LDO) of 1935. This article proposes to discuss the pros a

Need for an education revolution: Future of our kids and the nation is at risk – Part II

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Lessons to be learnt from the Asian educational giants A journalist of New York Times requested Hideki Shirakawa, a Nobel laureate, to describe Japanese culture. He said, “Fundamentally, Japanese culture is based on rice farming. Rice cultivation r

Country’s reconciliation with English and Moragahakanda

Thursday, 27 June 2019

When the country received independence from British, it was blessed with an efficient administration, a high standard in education, and also sound foreign exchange reserves; the country was admired by other countries. The three major and several mino

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