By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
If it is to advantage from a higher-growth area and prosper among other nations in the globe, Sri Lanka have to drastically switch its concentrate away from narrow and claustrophobic identity and tribal battles onto contemporary, secular targets connected to the prosperity of its people. We are facing a new version of the old guns versus butter debate central to economics. Do we allocate our time,sources and work toward guns? (meaning, war or conflict) Or are we going to allocate the bulk of them toward the production of “butter?” (meaning, our material sustenance)? I say, we need to extricate ourselves from spurious battles more than identities that only create unfavorable emotional energy and violence and take us to darkness. Rather, let’s move forward into economic realities that are staring in the face.
Swami Dayananda Saraswathi,writing to the Times of India in April this year, has pointed out how the Indian Constitution has defined India as a secular state. This is a recognition that ethnic and religious tensions can undermine a complicated society. Secularism embraces universal human values linked to human existential concerns. It operates on a standard universal ethic: “Do to others as you want them to do to you.” This maxim is all-natural to humans regardless of specific religious dogmas due to the fact it is based on a universal human endowment referred to as empathy. We all have embedded in us this good quality of empathy,which is adequate to live with no even a religion. Religion divides whereas empathy unites.
Accordingly, below secularism the state and church are separate. Religion does not invade government and government does not invade religion. The two are apart. Swami Saraswathie additional states that India has banished religion from state schools. Sri Lanka is behind India as our technique hasn’t divided church and state. Religious instruction is a need to in our schools. Monks are playing too a lot of a meddling role in the affairs of state. This is plain nonsense.
Along with financial prosperity and the adoption of secularism, the possible for identity -primarily based social and political conflagaration will pale into insignificance. Considerably of identity tensions are rooted in poverty and scarcity and a public perception of lack of space for all. Bread and butter will supersede narrow versions of one’s self. In the end, every single citizen desires a shelter to live in, a meal at the table, a college for his kids, healthcare consideration when ill and the common space to take pleasure in life. Modernity is built on such foundational values.
Now,with the elections on, Sri Lanka has a glorious possibility to make a decision regardless of whether to tread the modern day path or to languish in misery brooding over whether or not a single is a Sinhalese,Tamil, Buddhist, Muslim or Christian. All such identities are purely social constructions. Unless we reach to our widespread humanity we get nowhere. Voters should eschew leaders who are prone to be enemies of a secular state. Be confident, that this modernity in outlook is in truth inherent in Buddhist teaching.The regime of Buddhist Emperor Ashoka was an exemplar of a prosperous secular state.
This time, Sri Lankans go to polls to elect a new Parliament. The composition of Parliament is particularly important on this occasion due to the fact genuine power has now shifted to this institution of elected representatives. Presidential absolutism is largely gone following the 19th Amendment and the gravitational force of energy shifts towards the physique of MPs and by way of them to the Prime Minister and cabinet more than whom Parliament has ultimate control. The PM selects his Cabinet of Ministers. This is a neat, sensible and accountable arrangement in constitution-creating. Augurs nicely for a country that had been converted into a lawless state beneath a chief executive who had small respect for the constitution and other laws of the land.
This, alone, is considerable achievement by Yahapalanaya. Following the 19th Amendment, when the new Parliament is elected a Constitutional Council will be appointed and this vital institution will mother other independent commissions to appear soon after the Public Service, the Judiciary, and Elections isolating the latter from dysfunctional political meddling. In the black days of Rajapaksa, politicisation of practically almost everything beneath the Sri Lankan sun deprived powerless people of their security, liberty and freedom to stroll in dignity. These like us who live in Australia and the West observe ordinary citizens enjoy such a top quality of life. Surely, Sri Lankans deserve that! The strange point thing is that we observe how bigmouths amongst the Australian and Western Sinhala Buddhist nationalists seem to recommend that Sri Lankans do not deserve such a quality of life that the average man should continue to genuflect just before lawless politicos in order to secure their wants.
I would have preferred had we been able to pass new electoral laws that would have served to fend off undesirable parasites enter Parliament by way of the list -option of a celebration hierarchy. The present electoral system is stupid and has been the bane of our political culture. On the other hand, its replacement is a far more difficult measure that demands study and broad-primarily based consultation for which time did not permit. The politically displaced seedy characters that hanged around the defeated President, in order to insure themselves against investigations into their corrupt deals have been so busy attempting to sabotage the silent revolution of January 8th. Going significantly beyond the one hundred days mandated for, would have brought in anarchy and triggered a counter-revolution.
That mentioned and accomplished, now the ball is in the electors’ court and they should choose a steady government led by males and ladies who have had no corrupt narratives behind them. We also need to have leaders with intelligence, education, knowledge and decency to steer the ship of state.
The truth is that the ship of state requirements fast rectification from the harm it underwent beneath Rajapaksa rule. The nation lies on the brink of a severe debt trap. This cannot be seriously addressed by a purely interim government of a hundred days. Our national income is hardly enough to repay and service the irresponsible levels of debt repayments built up over ten years. Chinese blokes merely kept on giving any money the government asked without having any evaluation of feasible studies that typically precedes the granting of loans. On the other hand,Western help adopts stringent approaches of assessment. As a result, we have in our hands terrible White Elephants like the Rajapaksa International Airport in Mattala, the Rajapaksa Port at Hambantota, and the Rajapaksa International Sports Stadium. Even the beneficial Highways that have been built have been completed far above regular fees. Big commissions have been constructed into charges as a routine. Open robbing has been the name of the game and President Rajapaksa looked on winking himself away from the stories that reached his ears.
If a single cared to read the Sunday Instances economics column of respected economist Nimal Sanderatne one would have noted a lot of dark trends. Our agriculture production has dropped. With the exception of tea, our coconut, rubber and minor export crops have all dropped alarmingly. Fishing has badly gone down. With the drastic decline in demand for our tea from Russia and the Middle east, our agricultural exports have dropped by as a lot as six.five per cent. The result of all this is that our trade balance has been in the red for several years since the last regime took more than. Fortunately, our balance of payments have been salvaged largely by foreign remittances. Foreign remittances are essentially vulnerable and no economy can rely on that. Direct foreign investment,discouraged by threatening legislation, has been hovering around zero for numerous years.
Clearly the Sri Lankan economy is in peril. It follows that the living normal of our men and women is in danger.
Key structural changes in the agricultural,industrial and service sectors will have to be introduced and direct foreign investment must be encouraged into the nation if we are to salvage the nation and give a decent common of living to the ordinary person. Poverty is rampant in the country and a record sixty per cent school drop -out price reflects the inability of parents to support the education of their kids. This is sad. Hospitals are starved of vital drugs and individuals are thrown from pillar to post to get their medication at inexpensive costs.
Yahapalanaya hence far has largely restored the formal system of governance appropriate. Now, we need to have a additional stage of Yahapalanaya to deal with the elements of very good policy that will lift the economy from the doldrums.The ruling class under the former regime have been engrossed in filling their pockets while crying about the Buddhist Sinhala nation in danger. Film Star Parliamentarian, Malini Fonseka, quite much a Mahinda fan,alleged the other day how commissions were demanded as a routine from higher places for the displaying of Tv Drama episodes.
It appears almost self-evident that the historical function of finishing the Yahapalanaya project and transforming Sri Lanka into a contemporary state has to be played by none other than Ranil Wickremesinghe and his United National Party. I can’t think of a single existing Parliamentarian who can supersede Ranil in intellectual capacity, in emotional maturity, in knowledge and in integrity-qualities ideally required for the demanding part. Seeking back, a single can credit Ranil Wickremesinghe as a leader who has waited patiently, marked his time, defended his celebration against all sorts of machinations played by the former Machiavellian President and bearing insults and humiliation from even his own celebration ranks that have been clearly manipulated to discourage and oust him. “The wise man is unruffled by praise or blame,” says the Dhammapada. So was Ranil. He was never shaken as he believed firmly in himself.
Whilst Mahinda Rajapaksa was at his height Ranil confidently announced that the UNP will form a government in 2015. What a prophet! Credit backhandedly goes to Mahinda Rajapaksa for his political savviness in seeing in advance that Ranil was his only danger. Sensing that, he played a complete card of tricks to get him out of the UNP. Mahinda set up UNP men to challenge him and employed media vilification. It is here that Ranil exemplified considerable emotional maturity-not to blow up but to hold his own. And he did. Doesn’t he not deserve the Cup?