What caught my eye regarding the “Mangala” budget were the headiness claiming that it is an eco-green budget. On reading more about it, one can only say in Colombo English, “Aiyoo! See”, i.e., “Alas ! Look (at this scam)”. But the “Aiyoo-see” can also be written as IOC, the Indian Oil Company! The IOC and its impact on Sri Lanka is a good iconic symbol for what the budget really stands for, while it masquerades as a “green budget” !
The budget is green in its homage to the US dollar, also called “Green” after the greenbacks of the American civil war. The budget actually promises to bring in all the horrors of unregulated third-world industrialism, pollution and poverty as seen in weak countries colonized and cannibalized by multinationals while a few individuals become extremely rich. Pathetically, the budget even gets the technology behind the little bit of “ecology” it attempts to impose completely wrong, in promising to tax cell-phone towers and limiting the internet. This is probably driven by the unsubstantiated claims of modern-day Luddites that cell-phone radiation and Wi-Fi can cause brain cancer!
An even better bit of green advice from the minster’s mouth is to drink beer instead of pop soda. The minster has said nothing about the need to import (and eat) three times the usual amount of Genetically modified US flour (abhorred by the “Greens”) than in previous years. The flour is needed to meet the total failure of harvests due to a drought whose effect has been made much worse after the short-sighted policies on fertilizers and herbicides. The most popular, most effective and least toxic herbicide, known as glyphosate, has been banned by the Ayatollahs and their acolytes, who have rallied from Athuraliya to take over agriculture and even the health department, with false claims that glyphosate causes kidney disease.
Of course, the environmental issues of Sri Lanka needs to be fixed very soon, before it passes beyond no return and turn into a canker of a Calcutta. Sri Lanka is a country where mounds of garbage rot and periodically explode due to the build up of methane. The density of particulate matter in the streets and homes is some 2000 times the maximum advocated by the WHO. Coal-fired power stations are still being planned with manipulation of contracts to get the biggest commissions, while diesel is burnt to produce power. Leaded gasoline is still allowed in the country and widely used in small two-stroke farm equipment. Lead comes also from road markings and gray-paint anticorrosives. Mercury is emitted from the combustion of premium gasoline, and diesel vehicles exhaust arsenic among other things. Nickel, Cadmium and Zn are emitted from the constant abrasion of tire rubber. The incessant wear of asphalt roads release toxic nickel, vanadium and other stuff! These sources of toxins far over-weigh the minute amounts of toxins (parts per million) found in modern fertilizers. Scientists have documented these in great detail. The minister, a past master of modern political ecology, having turned from blue to green, has perhaps decided to “solve” road pollution by periodically importing duty-free electric cars that the MPs can sell to the public in the black market. Surely, President Trump will applaud the Green finance Minister’s ecological acumen and issue him a very Green Card. The constitution can be changed to allow dual citizens to become MPs and rob the people, while Singaporens can rob even central banks.
Or is this electric-car stuff just a ploy to let all the MPs, tired of their BMWs and Benz cars, get the new highly touted high-end Tesla electric car worth over a million dollars each?
But let us come back to the IOC which is the icon of the “Ayioo-See” budget. The IOC “petrol” that is sold even in the top-tier Colombo filling stations are adulterated with kerosene to different extents. The composition of “petrol” in remote areas may stump even a seasoned analytical chemist. The IOC may ship substandard but passable petroleum due to deals within deals at the source, in India. But more significantly, the IOC represents the hegemony of a foreign power over the sovereignty of Sri Lanka, and the crass consequences of an Indian corporation controlling not only the shipment of Gasoline, but also its local distribution. The Budget opens the door to the ready entry of not just IOC, but every manner of robber baron and syndicated mafia that can sell their wares under the radar or launder their ill-gotten money. The more they are, the more avenues for commissions for the “local partner”. What a boondoggle of a budget! Many will soon live in “free” penthouses.
The Hon. Minster says “Mr. Speaker …The country needs to shift away from being more protectionist and inward-oriented. Sri Lanka’s border measures need to see a complete revamp through well-targeted and time-bound trade reforms promoting growth. Our over dependence on non-tradable drivers challenges growth in the coming decade”. This should warm the hearts of the CEOs of Wallmarts, Arab or Chinese conglomerates, sweatshops and multinationals. It fits into Ranil W’s vision of a bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka within the proposed “Economic and Technical Cooperation agreement (ECTA)”. Then Sri Lanka’s 22 million will be subsumed into a one-billion demographic with a ready supply of cheap labour and millions of unemployed “clerks”. Clive’s East-India company is being resurrected in modern Sri Lanka.
Going even beyond JRJ’s Reaganite economics, Managla attempts to do the same complete abdication that he did with Foreign Policy where Pablo de Greiffs, Zeid al-Husseins, and Atul Keshaps can legitimately come to Sri Lanka to set the framework for judging, devolving, dissolving and auctioning the country. When is Jared Kushner due in Sri Lanka? Or can he just order Sri Lanka online via the Mangala portal of Amazon.com?
Meanwhile, opening up all boarders via the budget goes parallel with the closing of borders between the “so-called traditional homeland” of the Tamils and the rest of the country. This exercise of “devolution” is demanded only by pro-Eelam ultra-conservative castiest “Tamil” leaders who traditionally live in Karuvakkaadu (Kurunduwatte or Colombo 7), and dared not even enter their “homelands” during the decades when a de facto Eelam existed, while also being their political proxy!
The Northern “Chief Minister” has even called for racial purity in marriage, surely to be imposed under the radar once power is devolved into their hands. After all, according to a report by Ahilan Kadirgamar, even the unwritten Caste distinctions continue to thrive in the post-LTTE “homeland”. But the devolution of power is just from Diyawanna to Karuvakaddu! Since the TNA leaders vote with the government, helped to elect the president, and run a pretend opposition while supporting the government, it is clear that they get what they want, the big-money Maharajas get what they want, the multinationals get what they want, while the general public is given green ecological medicine replete with beer (if they can afford it) instead of “cream soda”, and electric cars instead of three-wheelers!
However, as the Prime Minster explained, most MPs do not know treasury Bonds from James Bond. But they know that the “Aya Vaeya Lekhanaya” can always be superseded by a supplementary “rush” estimate for new comfort allowances or for new vehicles for the MPs who will vote “YES” in unison.