21 September, 2020

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Budget 2017 & Its Economic, Political And Social Vision

By R. Sampanthan

R. Sampanthan

R. Sampanthan

This Budget has been presented by the current National Alliance Government comprising of the two main political parties in this country – the Sri Lanka Freedom Party headed by His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena and the United National Party headed by the Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister, Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs. The Cabinet of Ministers comprises of representatives of both political parties.

It is the objective of these two political parties to give the country a new future – not merely economically but also politically and socially. That indeed was the verdict of the country at both the Presidential Election held in January, 2015 and the Parliamentary Election held in September, 2015. The former regime and its leadership were prominent participants in both those electoral contests. They sought at both elections a further mandate to govern the country. The mandate so sought by them was denied by the people. The people, in the exercise of their sovereignty, have given President Maithripala Sirisena and the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe the mandate to govern the country for a period of time as stipulated in the Constitution. That is the sovereign verdict of the people which can only be dislodged in accordance with the Constitution and in no other way. Everybody in this country wants this country to be governed in keeping with the tenets of genuine democracy. These values, the Hon. Speaker, are sacred and need to be protected and preserved.

I want, Sir, in this regard to quote from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations to which we have acceded. May I quote Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:

“1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
2. Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.”

Unfortunately, that rule is not observed in Sri Lanka, particularly as far as the Tamil people are concerned.

The subparagraph (3) states, I quote:

“The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

That is what, Sir, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains in regard to the will of the people and the consent of the people in regard to the governance of a country. The will of the people as expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage shall be the basis of the authority of Government and that Mr. Speaker, is manifestly clear. In terms of our Constitution, Mr. Speaker, the term of office of Parliament and the President unless earlier terminated lawfully, in keeping with the Constitution, is six years. Under the Nineteenth Amendment, which the President was instrumental in introducing in Parliament, he reduced the term of office of the President to five years though he had been elected by the people for a period of six years. Through the Nineteenth Amendment which was passed in Parliament after the Presidential Election held on 08th January, 2015, the term of office of the President was reduced to five years.

The Hon. Minister of Finance, in the course of his Budget Speech, defined this Government’s economic, political and social vision. May I read paragraph No. 2 of his speech. Sir, this is what he stated, I quote:

“We will continue to progress in the noble endeavor to strengthen democracy, fundamental rights, reconciliation and development for lasting peace, freedom and national integration. Fundamentally, the country is guided by a new vision of lasting peace, built on mutual respect and dialogue. To cement this process, we have formulated an ambitious reforms agenda encompassing all major spheres including social, political, economic and international relations. This national government of Yahapalanaya will focus on reforms to the constitution, restoration and strengthening of the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.”

The vision of the Government, Sir, in my respectful statement, has been very lucidly stated in the statement made by the Minister of Finance in the course of his Budget Speech. Sir, the Government, as I said earlier, is committed to giving this country a new economic, political and social future. We are, for the first time, seeking to evolve a Constitution with the consent of the two main political parties, which alternatively have ruled this country from the time we attained Independence. It has been either of the United National Party or the Sri Lanka Freedom Party which have ruled this country from the time we attained Independence and there is a joint effort now for these two parties to come together to frame a Constitution for this country with the consent of other political parties and the people of this country.

This, Sir, is something new which had not happened before. It will be based on the maximum possible consensus within the framework of a single, undivided and indivisible country. We have had three Constitutions earlier. The first Constitution in 1947 was framed at Independence by our colonial rulers. The second Constitution in 1972 was framed by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and its left alliance partners without the consent of the other major political party, the United National Party, or the political party substantially representing the Tamil people. The third Constitution was enacted in 1978 framed by the United National Party without the consent of the other major political party – the Sri Lanka Freedom Party -or the political party substantially representing the Tamil people. In other words, Sir, both the 1972 Constitution and the 1978 Constitution were partisan and framed by one single political party with a few alliance partners, without the consent of the other major political party in the country and more particularly, without the consent or the consensus of the Tamil party substantially representing the people in this country at those points of time.

It is anticipated that, for the first time, within the framework of a single, undivided and indivisible country, a Constitution evolved on the basis of a wide consensus, will emerge and that this Constitution will reflect the will of all the people in this country, and be the basis of the authority of Government as stated in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For the first time, Sir, in the history of this country the political party substantially representing the Tamil people – that is the Party which I happened to belong to, the Tamil National Alliance – particularly in the North and the East of this country, will be a party to the Constitution-making process. This would enable the realization of the future vision for this country as enunciated in Para 2 of Part I of the Budget Speech of the Minister of Finance.

Mr. Speaker, I might say a few words on the Budget. “Accelerating Growth with Social Inclusion” has been the theme of the Budget speech. This, Sir, I think is an arduous task.

Growth is difficult when you are neck deep in debt. Our debt stock, according to the statement made by the Finance Minister, is a little over Rs. 9 trillion and a very substantial part of our income, I think almost 90 per cent of our income, goes into debt servicing.

It will be relevant, Sir, for the country to know how such debt was incurred: losses incurred by State-owned enterprises; vast expenditure on massive so-called development projects; for personal kudos which have turned out to be white elephants; infrastructure development at exorbitant cost frequently at more than double the real cost; corruption; extravagance and waste. These are the factors that have contributed to the massive debt that this country has incurred. It may be good for the country to know the truth. When you have to service excessive debt, growth and development is not easy. Important sectors such as education, health and agriculture will inevitably receive much less than what they would be entitled to.

The Government has ambitious programmes to accelerate growth. The Government plans to enter into Free Trade Agreements with several counties – India, China, Singapore, South Korea and several other countries. The Government hopes to receive a great deal of foreign direct investment. One must acknowledge that the world is friendly towards Sri Lanka today: very different from the past and our expectations could therefore materialize.

If that happens, we would manufacture and export to countries with large markets and to other countries too and we should concentrate on enhancing our exports. Traditional exports such as tea, rubber and coconut have declined. We should restore and improve on our earlier performance.

Our garment industry has done well. We should explore new markets for export in different fields. Our Embassies could play an effective role in identifying such markets. We should enter markets close by. I had earlier urged that India was very much in need of various types of pulses and that we should produce such pulses in large quantity and export same to India. That could indeed be a large market.

We do not seem to appreciate the value of our being an Island surrounded by the sea. We do not seem to be fully exploiting our fisheries resources. Properly developed and properly utilized this resource should be one of our biggest exports. We have several lagoons in many parts of this country. We have several lagoons in the Eastern Province particularly in Batticaloa. We do not seem to be exploiting these resources at all. This together with our maritime fisheries is an area that needs careful study and the evolution of programmes of action aimed at export. I do think that there is much potential for export in this area.

We should take lessons from other countries that have developed. Take for example Singapore. After Singapore attained independence, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the Prime Minister, stated that he wanted to develop Singapore on the model of Sri Lanka. He was so happy with the development taking place in Sri Lanka at that point of time. Where has Singapore gone and where are we today? I do not think that our per capita income is equal to one tenth of that of a Singaporean.

Germany was a country, Sir, devastated by the war. In fact, Germany was divided into four parts. One part was controlled by the United States of America; one part by the United Kingdom; one part by France and one part by USSR. The country was divided into four parts. Sometime later, the three parts controlled by the USA, the UK and France came together and the Russian part and the part controlled by the Western powers remained separate for a long period of time. There was the Berlin Wall which came down only about one and half decades ago dividing East Germany and West Germany. Today how extensive is the development they have achieved?

Japan was destroyed by the war. Japan developed after the war. Today, these countries are amongst the biggest economies in the world. Sir, they are not miracles. They are success stories. Commitment to principles and values, intelligent planning, firm implementation, commitment to progress and success are the reasons for the success in these countries. That, Sir, is patriotism.

Patriotism is not promoting exclusion, division and tension within the country so as to survive politically and in the process, derive the maximum personal benefits. This country can be turned around and made a different country. What is required is commitment, honesty and hard work. Our services need to be revamped. Firstly, the Public Service. The Public Service seems to have lost its way. The will to perform at optimum efficiency seems to be absent. Whether this is due to politicization and the Public Service being divided into camps, I do not know. That there has been political meddling is a fact. There is a need to re-energize the Public Service by inculcating in them a sense of duty to the country. Some remedial action needs to be taken. It should not be merely cosmetic. There needs to be deep introspection and the formulation of a programme through which they can be reactivated to serve the country. The Public Service is an important and a valuable instrument in Government activity. We can allow it to further deteriorate only at our own peril. The same applies to the Police Service. The Police Service needs to be transformed into a service committed to observance of the rule of law. Here again, there needs to be an action plan to enlighten them in their duty by the country and their obligation to uphold the rule of law. Politicization has been a malady here too. If the country is to take a new direction politicians too must realize that they should not impede progress in that new direction by interfering with institutions that should function independently.

Education and health are two vital sectors in any country. It is not merely sufficient to say that we provide free education and free health. That is undoubtedly appreciated, but we need to also provide quality education and quality health. I am not for a moment suggesting that the services in these areas are bad, but there is definitely room for improvement, particularly in the rural areas. Inadequacy of financial resources could be the reason for insufficient allocations, but if the country is to move towards real progress it is imperative that education and health services must at least be as good as they need to be and the Government should bear this in mind as a very important component in the new direction that this country proposes to take.

We also need to examine whether the standards of teaching in our schools have dropped. Do we need to restructure present procedures pertaining to recruitment, training, conditions of service and even emoluments to be able to have a more competent and committed Teachers’ Service? I am not for a moment seeking to blame anybody, but it is a question that has consistently arisen in my mind, as to whether the standards of teaching have dropped. We remember our teachers and our days in school. And we know how committed our teachers were, how much we gained from them. Our students need to be provided with the best educational facilities if the country is to do well in the future. Investment on the future generations is the best investment we can make for the future. And we have to address that issue in a practical way. I think, Sir, we should concentrate on the well-being of our students. Our university education needs to be diversified so as to stop producing unemployable graduates and to produce graduates for whom there will be a demand. Vocational training and technical education is another important sphere. If there is foreign direct investment, development and production, we will need a substantial work force with necessary skills and we should prepare for that eventuality by providing our youth with the necessary opportunities to acquire those skills.

I want to refer to some areas where, in terms of the Hon. Finance Minister’s Speech, we import at considerable cost various items which can be produced locally. On the importation of sugar we spend US Dollars 250 to 400 million. On the importation of food products and agriculture-related needs we spend approximately Rs. 200 billion annually. We imported at considerable cost 81,000 metric tons of milk powder.

We are a small country and we should be able to produce with proper planning all the food items we need. The state of our economy is such that we should try through local production to avoid such imports. This is within our capacity.

We need to promote tourism. It is an area with potential for much development. Our beaches and cultural sites have proved to be an attraction. We need to attract quality tourism, tourists who are big spenders.

I wish to say a few words, Sir, about the North and the East. It has been a much neglected area for a long time, both before the war and after the war. Resettlement on their lands from which they were displaced in the entirety of the North and the East, whether it is Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu Trincomalee, Batticaloa or even Ampara, is a prerequisite, is a necessity. Rehabilitation, housing, livelihood including farming on their own land, fishing, animal husbandry, livestock development, should be fully accomplished in 2017. The deprivation and suffering of these affected people cannot be a continuing phenomenon. People are tired of waiting patiently with expectation and now want things to happen. Of the 18 Tamil Members of Parliament elected from the North and the East, 16 are from the Tamil National Alliance, which is more than 90 per cent. Having been elected by the people to represent them, though we are not in the Government, we want to and are willing to work with the Government to accomplish the task that I just outlined. We would like the Government to formulate a programme of work to accomplish that task. I am happy that at least the Leader of the House is here. He is a person with a sympathetic ear. I think the Government needs to formulate a comprehensive programme of work for the North and the East and the Government needs to work with the elected representatives of the people, 16 of them from my Party, in order to be able to accomplish that task. We insist that this happens, and we will take every step that we can to ensure that such a programme of work is started early. It is a task that we cannot ignore any longer; we will play a constructive role in it.

We would also wish tangible progress in the matter of the resettlement of the Muslim people in the North. At a conference with Muslim Civil Society members of the North held recently, it was decided that representatives of the Muslim community, an official representative of the Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs, together with an official representative of the Chief Minister of the Northern Province would work together in order to overcome difficulties and thereby assist in the resettlement of the Muslim people displaced from the North. This is also a matter that needs urgent action. There seems to be a grievance amongst the Muslim people that they have been neglected. I do not think that grievance should continue because it is the policy of the Tamil National Alliance and also of the Tamil people that the Muslim people who were displaced from the North should return and that they should be resettled on their lands with all facilities.

I want to say few words about Trincomalee, which is my constituency and my district, which I have had the privilege of representing this Parliament for a long period of time. There has been Rs. 1000 million allocated for a Trincomalee District development programme. Meaningful development would be development of the people, development of their quality of life: housing, resettlement, rehabilitation, restoration of livelihood; facilities and equipment for the restoration of livelihood; fishing, farming, livestock development, animal husbandry, small industries, cottage industries, medium-scale industries. This is what we need.

I want to refer Sir, to two large irrigation schemes which have much potential in Trincomalee. One scheme is called Peraru, in the North of Trincomalee, where a substantial amount of water flows into the sea and the water is not utilized. All the lands in that area are largely, as we call in Tamil, “Manawari Lands”, depending upon rain-fed cultivation. We should provide those lands with irrigation facilities in which event they can be cultivated in both seasons.

The other scheme, I want to refer to, is a scheme called, “Kalarippu”, in the South of Trincomalee, in Verugal Eachchilampattu area, where again a substantial amount of water flows into the sea. If that water is utilized, several thousands of acres of lands presently under “Manawari Cultivation”, rain-fed cultivation, can be irrigated and the people will be able to cultivate for two seasons. This would lead to the quality of life of several thousands of families in these areas improving in a very substantial way.

These two schemes have been in the pipeline for a long period of time. For one reason or another they have not been implemented. I think, with this money allocated for development of Trincomalee, these two schemes must be given priority and the work must be undertaken. We would impress upon the Government – in fact, I would persuade the President and the Prime Minister, the President is also in charge of the Mahaweli Development and major irrigation schemes – that these two schemes are a priority. They have been pending for a long period of time. In fact, I spoke about Peraru in this Parliament when I came here for the first time in 1977. On account of the war, on account of the conflict, on account of the disturbed situations, things have not taken off. But it must happen now. Before the end of 2017, we want to make substantial progress in these two areas.

Another area of concern in Trincomalee Sir, is coast conservation. There are some vital parts of Trincomalee town and its suburbs facing the grim possibility of early destruction by sea erosion. I wish to identify those areas : Division No.10, Thirukadaloor, Manthottam, Veera Nagar, Alles Thottam and Salli. These are coastal areas, which are facing the grim possibility of destruction as a result of sea erosion. A substantial amount of expenditure is required to save these areas where thousands and thousands of families live and we must ensure that we are able to complete that work and that these people are safe in those areas and they are able to carry on living in those areas.

Before I conclude Sir, I want to refer to a segment of our society which needs the care and attention of all of us. I refer to the poorer segment of society. I noticed that the Minister of Finance in his Speech has reduced prices of seven items which have been detailed in his Speech. He has also tabled a list indicating reduction of prices of several items between January, 2015 – the price that prevailed then – and November, 2016 – the prevailing price now. There are reductions, though not very major, in regard to many items. All these things Sir, nevertheless seem to be quite minimal, compared to the extreme hardships undergone by weaker sections of society. I do not want to specifically refer to any recent actions on the part of Government in this regard.

I do realize the difficulties faced by the Government, which inherited an economy reeking with debt. However, whatever the difficulties faced by the Government maybe, it should not impose greater burdens on poorer segments of society. Our efforts should always be to alleviate their sufferings. Indirect taxation, Sir, largely impacts on the poorer sections of society. All of us have a responsibility not to harass and thereby alienate the poorer segments of society. We cannot and we should not be insensitive to their difficulties. Those segments of society which are better off, can be called upon to bear greater burdens. They can afford to bear those burdens and will not suffer pain as much as the poorer sections of society will have to bear when they are called upon to bear burdens that they cannot afford to bear.

There is an air of disquiet and discontent in the country pertaining to the economic plight of the poorer segments of society. This is an issue which needs to be addressed urgently. I would urge the Hon. Minister of Finance and the Government to consider this issue before this Budget reaches a state of finality.

We are hoping Sir, that this country will shortly have a new Constitution which has been a dire need in this country and which had been elusive for a long period of time. It must be a Constitution that is substantially acceptable to all segments of Sri Lankan society, to all sections of Sri Lankan society within the framework of a united, undivided, indivisible Sri Lanka where all Sri Lankans whether they are Tamils, Muslims, or Sinhalese will be able to call themselves “Sri Lankans” with the sense of pride and honour and be Sri Lankans in the true sense of the word without in any way forgoing their identity, their cultural identity, their linguistic and religious identity as distinct people.

*Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan’s Speech on 17th of November

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Latest comments

  • 6
    0

    Great speech but wasted on the morons in the Diyawenna Parliament of corrupt criminal politicians who are looting Lanka, while piling taxs on the poor.

    Sri Lanka is a Hot Air HUB of criminal Modayas!

    TO have a knowledge economy there needs to be spending on education and research infrastructure. Not on SUVs for corrupt politicians!

    Sri Lankans should stop paying taxes to the Ranil_Sira Jarapalanaya govt. which is protecting Mahinda Jarapassa and dancing to the tunes of IMF which should have traced and returned the looted billions from off shore accounts as a so called Global Financial governance institution.

    Mr. Sambanthan Good try to ask for the country to know how such debt was incurred: losses incurred by State-owned enterprises; vast expenditure on massive so-called development projects; for personal kudos which have turned out to be white elephants; infrastructure development at exorbitant cost frequently at more than double the real cost; corruption; extravagance and waste. These are the factors that have contributed to the massive debt that this country has incurred. It may be good for the country to know the truth. When you have to service excessive debt, growth and development is not easy. Important sectors such as education, health and agriculture will inevitably receive much less than what they would be entitled to.

    • 0
      5

      Don Stanley

      TO have a knowledge economy there needs to be spending on education and research infrastructure. Not on SUVs for corrupt politicians!

      How about wasting money on UNHCR looking for a political solution to South Indian immigrents ?

      • 2
        0

        “TO have a knowledge economy there needs to be spending on education and research infrastructure. Not on SUVs for corrupt politicians! “

        After Kanangra education in Lankawe never gave back any return. Instead of SUVs, if Lankawe had invested on livestock trucks may have seen some returns on manure transport.

      • 2
        0

        jim softy

        “How about wasting money on UNHCR looking for a political solution to South Indian immigrents ?”

        How about sending descendants of immigrants back to South India in SUVs? We need lots of SUVs, for there would be 21 millions of them to be ferried back.

      • 1
        0

        Investment in UNHCR is goood for the economy as there is more aid coming into north. North Indian and Pakistani immigrants to Sri Lanka spent more money on UNHCR than South Indian immigrants. And at least TNA’s investment was not wasted as the North Indian immigrants couldn’t stop the war crime investigation at UNHRC. Haha

  • 5
    0

    A budget for Social inclusion, my foot! No my ASS! This is a budget for social EXclusion! This is a budget for the UNP and SLFP’s corrupt politicians to pile up more DEBT, and to exclude and extract taxes from the poor to pay for the politicians SUVs and perks.

    Rani lW and Ravi K are an insult to social inclusion – which means helping the poor and marginalized including ethnic and religious minorities. Rather this budget is a UNP-SLFP bi partisan corruption scandal – a green light for greedy and corrupt politicians to loot the people in the name of peace and reconciliation and social inclusion.

  • 3
    4

    Mr.Sambsnthan,

    How about the ‘Jaffna River’ project that is vital for the Jaffna peninsula to resolve a recurrent water problems;, open-up large extents of land for agriculture ,animal husbandry and agro industries.; and meet the water needs of the people?

    Why did not mention this in your speech?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 7
      0

      Dr. Narendran,
      Point well taken but just like all roads not leading to Jaffna all rivers too need not necessarily lead to it!! Here the Hon Sampanthan is speaking for Sri Lanka in general in keeping with his duties as Leader of the Opposition.Give the gentleman a chance to shine forth in this role too,please.And he has done wonderfully well, I must say.Three cheers for the Hon. Sampanthan.DR. RN wil you say hip hip hooray at least under your breath Sir?

    • 4
      0

      Rajasingham,

      Again your personal El Dorado aspirations should preempt everything else – huh?

    • 0
      0

      Dr RN,

      “How about the ‘Jaffna River’ project that is vital for the Jaffna peninsula to resolve a recurrent water problems;, open-up large extents of land for agriculture ,animal husbandry and agro industries.; and meet the water needs of the people? Why did not mention this in your speech?”

      To my best knowledge none of the northern MPs has taken up the problems that you have listed. I hope that I am wrong.

      The only “advance” I have read about is the R/O plant with ADB loans. R/O is too expensive and depends on foreign technology.

      • 1
        1

        Lone Wolf,

        I am glad Sambanthan has started atleast and at last to talk about development issues. This is a giant step forward. However, I find fault with him for not demanding action on the ‘ Jaffna River’ project which requires that only a 3-4 km canal to be cut to connect the Elephant Pass water reservoir to the lagoon system in the peninsula?

        I cannot understand the foot dragging. Neither have I heard a valid scientific explanation why it should not be done.

        What I and many others are asking for is the rain water collecting in the ‘ Elephant Pass catchment area – if I remember right about 100+ sq.km – be connected to the fresh water storage storage system within the peninsula. Most of the work to isolate the lagoons and the Elephant Pass catchment area from the sea has been already done. The overflow during the rainy seasons from the Irranaimadu tank in Kilinochchi will be only a welcome bonus.

        Is the stupid politics – Political solutions first and development later- of the Jaffna politicians and their financiers and supporters the major road block?

        Dr.RN

        Dr.RN

        • 0
          0

          Dr RN,

          “I am glad Sambanthan has started atleast and at last to talk about development issues.”

          I share your feeling. In addition the TNA did try to give ideas for the budget. Unfortunately these ideas are unknown to me.

          I believe that you have already received this but here is the link to the “vertical building” article in the Financial Times by Ms Bastians.

          http://www.ft.lk/article/579940/TNA-denounces-2017-Budget-priorities

          “The TNA MP said he had met Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake ahead of the budget presentation, with a detailed proposal for the North and East, with regard to Agriculture, Fisheries and animal husbandry.”

          Where can we find the details?

          “Instead, the Finance Ministry had allocated Rs. 1 billion for a “vertical building” with office space and an entertainment area in the North, the TNA lawmaker charged.”

          I was wrong. 1000 million instead of 500 million for the Jaffna megabuilding.

          What have the MPs in the NP done with their 15 million decentralized budget money? Something with Agriculture, Fisheries and animal husbandry?

          • 0
            0

            Lone Wolf,

            Thank you. My question is why the TNA does not make public it’s own proposals for
            development of the North and East! This will give those like us an opportunity to understand the TNA thinking on the question of development.

            I have nothing but derision for those who proposed the ‘ Vertical Building’ in Jaffna’ . It is no different from the Rs.200 million X-Mas tree being built in Galle Face and Durty Free cars for the parliamentarians , ministers , doctors and officials.

            I am sure you have heard of the Tamil proverb, ”Thannai Petra aathaal kinni pitchchai edukka, mahan Kumbakonathiley Koe thaanam panninaanaam” (literally translated to English : While his mother was begging with a bowl on the streets, her son was donating milking cows in Kumbakonam)

            This government is increasingly elitist in its thinking and approach. It seems to think the needs of Colombo and the big cities are the needs of Sri Lanka. It does not yet understand that Sri Lanka is straddling the 18th, 19th , 20th and 21st centuries at the same time yet. Our thoughts and vision for the future are caught in this time trap.
            We want the 21st century trapping, while our thinking is yet mired in the past centuries.

            It has not taken any action against the sprawling, ignorant, unresponsive, arrogant, in efficient and non-performing bureaucracy. It has depoliticized the public service. Why are our largely ignorant legislators yet being involved in development activities and provided a decentralized budget? The manner in which these budgets that are spent through the public servants is like the deaf leading the blind! I see this unfolding before my eyes every day.

            Dr.RN

      • 0
        0

        what you are asking for is what the then deputy PM Maithripala Senanayake could not achieve. no wonder you are a lone wolf howling after super moon.

        • 1
          1

          Amal Perera,

          Here is what we will shock most. MR government built the barrier between the sea and the Elephant Pass lagoon during the war. The same government repaired the barriages at Arialai and Thndamanaru, soon after the war ended. For some reason or other he government did not the final phase of constructing the canal I have referred to above. Engineer O.E. D. Mendis, despite his age faught a battle on this issue on many fora.

          Why has the Northern Provincial Council not demanded that this project be completed?

          Why has the TNA not demanded action from the government?

          Is resolving the water related problems not vital for the people living in the peninsula?

          For God sake, why, why, why and WHY? Damn, cheap, shortsighted politics and/ or bribery and corruption!

          Dr..RN

    • 0
      0

      Did EPDP Dougie had any minutes to speak in the Parliament?

      How many times Dougie spoke about Periyaru?

  • 2
    0

    Mr Sampanthan,

    You have made a constructive speech after a very long time breaking traditional approach of TNA.

    Did you ever present your proposals for the development of Northern provinces during the formulation of Budget? or only now.

    Is it not more realistic had you been a partner in the budget formulation process.

    Now it is too late. At least I expect your party to be more constructive during the committee stage of the Budget debate.

    One other minor observation

    Berlin Wall did not divide West Germany and East Germany. It only divided West BERLIN and East Berlin.

    In fact Berlin was within the then West Germany.

    • 0
      0

      Sri.Krish,

      “Did you ever present your proposals for the development of Northern provinces during the formulation of Budget? or only now. Is it not more realistic had you been a partner in the budget formulation process.”

      I found MP Sumanthiran some days ago in the English language media lamenting that the TNA ideas for the budget had been totally neglected. Apparently the TNA had met Ravi and presented their proposals. I don’t have the link at the moment but it is the article where Sumanthiran criticizes the planned “vertical building” (rs 500 million?) in Jaffna that nobody according to him needs. I agree with him.

      Sumanthiran also says that the Government mostly constructs roads and buildings and forgets the more basic needs of development for the people. I agree with him but are the TNA politicians and northern government servants totally powerless in the process of planning and implementing? Who decides to construct roads and buildings? Why does NP annually return funds that have not been used? What is the role of the District Development Committees in this decision making? What are the TNA and other MPs using their own funds( 15 million now?) for in the villages? Temples, roads, community centers? Has any of them constructed a toilet or a well?

      It would be nice to read what the TNA proposed and how people friendly the ideas are.

      It would be nice to know what the northern MPs are using their “development funds” for.

      It would be nice to know do the proposals approved by the District Development Committees try to meet the needs of the excluded people. More roads, community centers, temples?

      I am pretty sure that what the Government, the northern MPs, northern government servants and northern District Development Committees are doing is constructing roads and buildings instead of taking care of the basic needs of the people. Are the people supposed to eat the results of the construction projects?

      Does the NPC have no role and power in decision making?

      I will try to find the “vertical building” link.

      Are the MPs in the District Development Committees among the 58 MPs who now will receive a car for their so called development work? How many of the northern MPs actually live in the province with their families? Are the roads needed to take the MPs in their new cars to open new community centers and pray in remote temples?

      Despite heavy rain power and internet cuts have not yet eliminating my whining today.

    • 0
      0

      Sri Krish,

      “In fact Berlin was within the then West Germany.”

      West Berlin was an enclave surrounded by East Germany (DDR).

  • 2
    2

    Mr. Sambanthan wasted the time allocated to him on platitudes and history that is now public knowledge and those who wrote the budget and the opposition were participants at one time or other.

    Why is Mr. Sambanthan begging the government to draw up a plan for the North when there are enough specialists in the North who could do that in cooperation with the Centre. If Mr Sambanthan consulted those who specialise in the budget he would have been addressed on the precarious position that the new budget has created to curb the Northern and Eastern ProvincialCouncils’ devolution of powers. A careful analysis will show that under the budget the policies and plans will be drawn up and implemented by the Centre through its government servants and the private institutions that will spring up to take advantage of the development contracts awarded by the Centre.

    Mr. Sambanthan, please set up specialists from the North and the East to study the budget and advise you and the other MPs from the North and East on what this budget will do to the North and East before it is too late.

    • 0
      0

      Dr Ethir,

      “If Mr Sambanthan consulted those who specialise in the budget he would have been addressed on the precarious position that the new budget has created to curb the Northern and Eastern ProvincialCouncils’ devolution of powers.”

      What curb? What devolution? Which powers? Have you read the same budget proposal as I did?

      “A careful analysis will show that under the budget the policies and plans will be drawn up and implemented by the Centre through its government servants and the private institutions that will spring up to take advantage of the development contracts awarded by the Centre.”

      There is nothing new about this.

      What bothers me is why the government servants are not servants of the public. In NP they are all Tamils and they do not do their work properly to help the people. There are many good ideas coming from the Center that are not implemented as they should. Whether this happens in other provinces also is beyond my knowledge.

  • 5
    0

    Mr. Sampanthan,
    A great and well-researched speech, but I am afraid the swine are not about to collect pearls.
    “We also need to examine whether the standards of teaching in our schools have dropped. Do we need to restructure present procedures pertaining to recruitment, training, conditions of service and even emoluments to be able to have a more competent and committed Teachers’ Service?”
    There is no debate that standards have dropped. What is to be expected when politicians think that appointing the unemployable as teachers solves the job problem?
    We need to get down foreign teachers/trainers at least for a few selected state schools . I believe ALL students should be taught carpentry / plumbing/ electrical work from grade 8. Parents should be taught that doctors and lawyers are not the highest life-forms on the planet.

    • 1
      1

      old coger,

      “There is no debate that standards have dropped. What is to be expected when politicians think that appointing the unemployable as teachers solves the job problem?”

      I agree with you.

      “Parents should be taught that doctors and lawyers are not the highest life-forms on the planet.”

      We should maybe forget doctors, engineers and lawyers. The children should be taught that politicians are the new Gods. Most of them have only o-levels so that achieving this goal is easier for the parents and children.

    • 0
      0

      old codger,

      “What is to be expected when politicians think that appointing the unemployable as teachers solves the job problem?”

      At the same time the fact is that university graduates employed as teachers and other government servants are the only educated persons who often stay in rural NP. If they were not employed they would leave and the villages and the province would be without educated people.

      From where would better qualified Tamil speaking teachers come from?

  • 0
    2

    It was not the corrupt Rajapasa regime alone that plunged the country into debt. The curse started in 1977. Sampanthan wholeheartedly endorsed the open economic policy of JRJ– in his maiden speech if I remember correctly.
    He is at one with the UNP-led government in preaching that foreign investment will salvage the economy. None of the capitalist parties can show the way out of the current economic mess.

    BTW, is Sampanthan really so naive as to think that a UNP government will do anything to hurt the wealthy– even if it means saving the poor from starvation.
    Sampanthan knows that it is an anti-people budget by an anti-people regime, but will not dare say it.

  • 0
    0

    Sampanthar is worried that Ranil is going let the secret solution go through the hole in the Parliament roof. Read this below:

    “It has been either of the United National Party or the Sri Lanka Freedom Party which have ruled this country from the time we attained Independence and there is a joint effort now for these two parties to come together to frame a Constitution for this country with the consent of other political parties and the people of this country.”

    Here Sampanthar goes very clearly what he means. Is there anybody with their heart believes that such a senior, matured politicians, Sampanthar did not know what really happened in the example he cited. He certainly not meaning that when the SLFP was concocting its constitution, it was UNP imposed the Anti-Tamil provisions and when UNP concocted it was the SLFP imposed the Anti-Tamil clauses. He, when pointing out about the two constitutions, is implying that one you have been Kuuni and of you have been Sahuni in the past on their own will. In fact they both voted together for all anti-tamil clauses with mutual understanding. He is clearly saying here that now Sahuni and Kuuni are in a coalition to destroy Tamils and Muslims, together. He is scared like Oliver Twist before he ask for “some more” from the “Kuuni+Sahuni” yahapalanaya.

    They are not not going to take Sampanthar’s this punch as serious. Ranil, listening this begging, might have been laughing inside him, “at least now you are getting to know who we are; Thanks!”.

    Germany and Japan are not “Success story”, that is only recovery after a short fall. When, in the modern history, were they performed inferior to other leading societies? For 2500 years, we have been destroying the indigenous technology developed for irrigation by the native Tamils lived in the land. Then we brought Western technology to build our dams.

    One time Lee Kuan Yew made a mistake by saying he wanted to develop Singapore like Lankawe. Then he corrected in his biography that Sinhalese only destroyed the British and Tamils built Ceylon by their racism.

  • 0
    1

    Very much like an after dinner speech. Doubt even the hon.speaker had time to listen this speech of the century.

  • 0
    0

    The Finance Minister talks about social inclusion.

    I want to ask you a simple question whether social inclusion is possible without adequate consultation during the formulation of Budget Process.

    Was their adequate consultation when the Budget was formulated,not superficial consultation to hoodwink the masses.

    I understand that there are two major components to this budget
    – Relief and Development or Economic Growth.

    On relief part, the Finance Minister may have had consultations with the Srisena faction of the SLFP.That is why the massive support from this section.

    But on the Economic Growth,

    The input if at all is only from the Prime Minister apart from a handful of treasury or central bank officials.

    The signature of the Prime Minister is visible everywhere in the Budget
    And the people had nothing to do with this budget.

    It was centrally formulated and planned and to be executed all others are mere spectators, but will be called upon to play the role of implementers.

    THE Mega polis(Ranil’s Baby), the Southern development around Hambantota (Ranil’s baby) and Northern Development,still at an embryonic stage involving Northern, Eastern and North Central provinces(Whose Baby is it? Surely not Sampanthan’s)

    Did people have any say?

    Is it from the grassroots or Is it a top down approach?

    Could the destiny of the country left in the hands of a single individual or a small cohort however capable they may be?

    Where is the consultation process?

    Mr Sampanthan, for devolution to succeed, there should be sharing in the center apart from sharing at the periphery.

    It is not only Tamils and Sinhalese. It has to be inclusive of all stakeholders;

    we cannot afford to exclude anyone including Mahinda faction.

  • 0
    0

    Lone Wolfe, Please read Hon MP Saravanabawan’s speech on the Budget. Sambanthan and he are in the same party. If this is too long for a response may be Colombotelegraph could publish it.
    [Edited out]

    • 0
      0

      Dr Ethir,

      Where can I find the speech of MP Sara?

      What was edited out? Thanks.

  • 0
    0

    True to form, Sampanthan and with him the TNA voted for the budget.

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