25 October, 2020

Blog

ETCA: A Different Perspective

By Rajeewa Jayaweera

Rajeewa Jayaweera

Rajeewa Jayaweera

One of the topics currently under intense debate and discussion in the public domain is the much disputed Economic & Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA). It has led to a serious dispute between the present government and Sri Lanka’s professionals in the medical and IT sectors, besides members of civil society. It does not mean ETCA is without supporters though it would appear opponents outnumber supporters to the proposed agreement.

Not being well versed in International Trade Agreements and Goods & Services Agreements, it is not the intention of the writer to analyse the pros and cons of ETCA other than to state, any agreement need be thoroughly vetted by a group of experts before a decision is made of its suitability or lack of it. It should not be evaluated based on emotions or impact on one or a few stake holder groups, but based on overall benefits that would accrue to the nation.

At the outset, it must be stated, the proposed bridge between India and Sri Lanka is in no way comparable to the proposed ETCA. The bridge could facilitate the movement of unskilled and unemployed persons from the state of Tamil Nadu with a population of 77.8 million. Around 20% of the population live below the poverty line. According to Indian Labour Ministry, Tamil Nadu’s youth population (15-30 age group) amounts to 21 mil. 6 mil of the said youth group including 14% who are graduates, are unemployed. These would be candidates to cross the proposed bridge in search of greener pastures, as did their grand- fathers in the 1950s and 1960 as illicit immigrants. Other ill effects could be smuggling, diseases, epidemics etc. from Tamil Nadu besides the loss of Sri Lanka’s island status. Retaining island status may not be necessary under normal circumstances but is absolutely necessary in view of our giant neighbour India and its Tamil Nadu state. On the other hand, agreements such as ETCA are meant for qualified persons. Their appointments and arrivals are meant to be properly recorded and monitored. The duration of their stay could be pre-determined.

Much has been stated of over two hundred PhD holders applying for some Peon’s vacancies in India. It is a progressive step compared to Sri Lanka’s unemployed graduates, many who are categorized as ‘unemployable’ in the private sector, agitating for white collar jobs in the state sector.

This writer wishes to examine some other aspects, based on the objections voiced specifically by those in the Medical and IT professions and some in the general public. It need be understood, we live in a globalized world. Free movement of trade, goods, services, skilled labour to name a few are all necessary components in the context of globalization. Unfortunately, many Sri Lankans are unable to grasp the advantages of globalization unless they have some personal benefit. Many tend to approach such issues with a ‘tunnel vision’ mentality.

A case in point is the number of Sri Lankan doctors and IT Professionals, who after having received free education in Sri Lanka have moved to UK, USA, Canada and Australia. What would have been the plight of our doctors and IT Professionals had their counterparts in such countries objected to the arrivals from Sri Lanka? It may be argued, the said countries have a shortage especially of qualified doctors. On the other side of the divide, so does Sri Lanka. We too have a drastic shortage of doctors which is the reason previous and present governments have handled the GMOA with extreme caution. No government wishes to have press photographs of sick or dying patients narrating stories of lack of treatment due to striking doctors and other medical personnel, under their watch. It must be stated, it is the objective of GMOA to maintain status quo in order to retain their bargaining power. Considering our doctors and IT professionals who have obtained employment overseas, is it morally and ethically correct to object to foreign medical and IT professionals working in Sri Lanka? Their remuneration obviously should be based on qualifications and experience, besides demand and supply.

Similarly, over 150,000 Sri Lankans live and work in each of the European countries such as Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. They perform tasks from washing dishes, cleaning roads to blue collar jobs and in some cases even white collar jobs after achieving proficiency in the local language and required professional qualifications. The total number of Sri Lankans living and working outside Sri Lanka excluding the Middle East would probably exceed the 1 mil mark. In the same token, we Sri Lankans must be ready to accept foreign workers in our country as well, especially in areas with acute shortages of trained and competent man power. Such shortages is what enables small groups, professionals or otherwise, to hold the whole nation to ransom.

One only has to try to obtain the services of a Carpenter, Electrician, Mason, Plumber, Welder etc. all necessary in our day to day life. The difficulty in finding good workmen who are competent, efficient and punctual is known to most of us. In such a back ground, the writer is of the view, this country need workmen in many disciplines, may it be from India or otherwise. Britain was flooded with skilled and semiskilled labour from the less affluent new entrants to EU such as Romania and Poland. It eased the shortages in skilled and semi-skilled manpower and has contributed considerably towards the improvement in many sectors, especially the construction industry. It has also made in much easier to obtain the services of Plumbers, Masons, Electricians, Carpenters and Handymen which in turn improves the quality of life of the general populace.

Yet another factor which need be highlighted is that foreign professionals contribute immensely to the knowledge base of a country. The number of foreign doctors, engineers, bankers and other professionals involved in their respective sectors in developed nations is massive. The knowledge and experience they bring with them contributes in no small measure in their respective fields as well as in Research & Development. Students and graduates entering the professional world benefit from the knowledge and expertise of such foreign professionals besides local professionals. In a country such as Sri Lanka, there is always scope to utilize foreign professionals, especially in the medical field due to the acute shortage of qualified doctors, especially those willing to serve outside big cities.

ETCA should not be something shoved down our throats by India as they have become apt in doing as of late. That said, we Sri Lankans need to broaden our horizons and look at issues without blinkers such as protectionism. We Sri Lankans, whilst retaining our island status need to shed both our island mentality as done by the British and tunnel vision. In that context, let a properly constituted panel of experts make an independent evaluation of ETCA, its benefits and drawbacks. Should it contain an overall benefit to Sri Lanka, let us make use of ETCA for the sake of all Sri Lankans who are the most important stake holders, even if it may have some adverse effects on stake holders in the medical and IT sectors.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    Residents and vehicles from Tamil Nadu have restrictions even to travel to Karnataka or Andhra. Will there be free travel between two countries?.

    Those who know Tamil Nadu, the most urbanized state in India, has figuratively far greener pastures than SL.

    • 6
      1

      Our professionals are scared of competition and that is the bottom line. Whether they are doctors, engineers , accountants, IT guys or academics they will fight hard to protect their territory.

      We have never been subjected to competition other than our export industries. Imagine if our exporters such as apparel guys behaved like the professionals and academics, they would have been out of business by now.

      As a professional I have no issue competing with Indians.

      • 5
        1

        Jagath Fernando

        Do you still believe Rajeewa Jayaweera’s typing has any rational arguments supported by detailed studies by experts?

        He is another little islander driven by his anti Indian racist views who appears on CT intermittently to impress his wife/partner (if he has one) may be a few like minded friends as Dayan does.

        Oh by the way, the little islanders are known to suffer from paranoia. In his case, the problem is acute.

        • 3
          0

          N.V,
          Looks like Rajiva J. has given up his usual India-phobia.
          “this country need workmen in many disciplines, may it be from India or otherwise.”
          “Yet another factor which need be highlighted is that foreign professionals contribute immensely to the knowledge base of a country. “
          “Considering our doctors and IT professionals who have obtained employment overseas, is it morally and ethically correct to object to foreign medical and IT professionals working in Sri Lanka? “

          He has not trotted out the usual empty arguments about balance of trade, Indian toilet cleaners, etc.
          So he welcomes ETCA as long as it is not forced. That’s a helluva lot coming from Rajiva Jayaweera. Wimal Weerawansa next, please.

          • 4
            1

            Old Codger

            Please read his rant below:

            “The bridge could facilitate the movement of unskilled and unemployed persons from the state of Tamil Nadu with a population of 77.8 million. Around 20% of the population live below the poverty line. According to Indian Labour Ministry, Tamil Nadu’s youth population (15-30 age group) amounts to 21 mil. 6 mil of the said youth group including 14% who are graduates, are unemployed. These would be candidates to cross the proposed bridge in search of greener pastures, as did their grand- fathers in the 1950s and 1960 as illicit immigrants. Other ill effects could be smuggling, diseases, epidemics etc. from Tamil Nadu besides the loss of Sri Lanka’s island status. “

            It is bit rich for this descendant of Kallthoni (mostly from South India) to talk about illicit immigrants.

            He has completely forgotten that it was not a one-way traffic. From ancient/medieval kings to NM Perera, Somawansa, DIG Udugampola, Dayan Silva Jeyatilleke, and another 200,000 or more people sought refuge in South India.

            People with little or no education are capable of writing a PhD thesis on “Bridge and the Bigots”

      • 2
        0

        Jagath,
        You say:”Imagine if our exporters such as apparel guys behaved like the professionals and academics, they would have been out of business by now.”

        Imagine if our cricketers too thought like the professionals.

        • 3
          0

          Old Codger

          “Imagine if our cricketers too thought like the professionals.”

          Govt lacks expertise to take country forward – Gota

          dailynews.lk
          22/03/2016

          Where are those experts who were with him? Where have they gone?

  • 2
    2

    Once that agreement is signed it is easy for companies from other countires to set up manufacturing plants in India because the indian market is far far bigger than that of Sri lanka and the agreement helps to ship goods to Sri lanka.

    Indian cost of labour far cheaper, so it is better to export to Sri lanka than setting up the assembling plant in Sri lanka.

    India is far better than invention and in manufacturing than Sri lanka.

    Sri lanka’s market is mostly service oriented and it is not manufacturing oriented.

    What Sri lankan politicians is entirely oriented on services such as sending women to middle east, tourism.

    This agreement may ruin even Sri lanka’s Tea industry once Indians introduce their Chai to Sri lankans. See how they have given up Suwndal rice and is addicted to Basmathi.

  • 0
    0

    Well said.I agree wholeheartedly.

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]

  • 1
    0

    Professionals from foreign lands already come and work here. That can be arranged by BOI. We do not need ETCA for that.

    • 4
      1

      sachooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo the stupid II

      “Professionals from foreign lands already come and work here. That can be arranged by BOI. We do not need ETCA for that”

      People, professionals, stupid can visit this island or work here. If this a case why should this country be part of SAARC, IORA, BIMSTEC, ACD, MGC, UN, UNHRC, SCO, ILO, ICRC, WB, IMF, IDA, IBRD, IFC, WHO, WIPO, UNWTO, Interpol, FAO, ICAO, IMO, “PLO”, ITU, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, ……………………… agreed to comply with protocols?

      Go play with Romana, Nuisance, Dharshinie Irathinavalli, Rajeewa Jayaweera, Dayan Silva, …..

      By the way, what is the difference between you and a knife?

      • 2
        2

        talk what you know idiot vaddha

        • 3
          1

          sachoooooooooooooo the stupid II

          “talk what you know idiot vaddha”

          Stupid is as stupid types.

          Have you ever heard about

          SAARC, IORA, BIMSTEC, ACD, MGC, UN, UNHRC, SCO, ILO, ICRC, WB, IMF, IDA, IBRD, IFC, WHO, WIPO, UNWTO, Interpol, FAO, ICAO, IMO, “PLO”, ITU, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, ………….

          If you haven’t, to begin with do some home work, find out what these acronym stand for and then learn about it.

          This is going to be a life time work.

          What is the difference between you and a knife?

          • 0
            1

            _|_

            • 4
              0

              sachoooooooooooooo the stupid II

              “_|_”

              We know you are sitting on your brain. However there is no need for you to symbolically confirm the state of your anatomy.

            • 0
              0

              Why not you seek for a better therapy ?

              If all is done only you need to try it again this way.
              Man LISTEN to others.

  • 2
    0

    Jayaweera’s opinion that services of skilled workmen are hard to obtain, is absurd. Most of them went abroad due to political misfits being employed in state enterprises.Those that remain are under-employed.

    “Foreign professionals” bringing expertise too, is nonsense.
    Our professionals are world class but they cannot function using their full potential, for want of funds, infrastructure, and equipment.
    Latest knowledge is available today in professional journals on the web, unlike a few decades ago.

    Some expertise in fields in which disaster has occurred, like in electricity transmission, may need expertise from India which could be obtained without a so-called “agreement” between the two nations.
    But, latest news is that Germans are coming to advise on this !

    The latest proposal to allow the Mittal company to construct prefab houses unsuitable for rural Lanka, deprives our own construction engineers and firms from serving the nation.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/160320/news/who-will-win-the-battle-of-the-builders-mittal-or-locals-187197.html

    Earlier, French construction was proposed – what happened to it?

    • 0
      0

      Arcelor Mittal is a French company owned now by the Indian Mittal group.

  • 1
    0

    Sri lanka is very good setting up fake panels, boards, committees, commissions etc., etc., that goes for decades.

    Even the previous top level committee set up had people who knew nothing about signing an agreement.

    Now it says, Ranil wickramsinghe govt behaves the same way and has asked big companies and chamber of commerce like people not to discuss anything negative on that.

    “Employees of several top-notch business and trade chambers had been issued gag orders against criticizing the proposed Indo-Lanka Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), it is learnt.
    We were strongly advised not to say anything against the adverse effects of ETCA. So we have no option but to toe the line with the current administration. What we are disappointed over is that this undue influence is triggered by undue pressure unleashed by a regime that sought to safeguard good governance and transparency, an employee of an umbrella chamber body told The Sunday Leader on grounds of anonymity.
    Even Indian parties are trying to forcefully engage us (chambers) towards their goal, he lamented, hinting at Indian diplomats in the country.
    You can`t talk about ETCA. The CEO can`t speak he won`t say anything, a staff member affiliated to a nation-minded trade chamber said.
    According to several sources, certain members of the diplomatic community too were engaged in exerting pressure on the government, just as J. R. Jayewardene administration was `pushed to a wall` to sign the infamous Indo Lanka Peace Accord in 1987.
    When asked for a comment on ETCA, another leading chamber said that the statement issued by the chamber would suffice.
    Indian media such as The Economic Times of the Times of India Group hailed Ceylon Chamber of Commerce for embracing ETCA.
    A leading Sri Lankan trade chamber has welcomed the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement with India, saying it will widen bilateral economic engagement but underlined the need for clear communications in tackling issues faced by businesses here.
    The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce reaffirmed their complete support towards the agreement that `widens and deepens our economic engagement with India,` while reiterating the need for systematic stakeholder consultations, clear and coherent communications, and firm commitment to tackling issues faced by businesses. “

    • 2
      1

      Jim Softy,
      They are not fake panels, just incompetent ones. They are incompetent just like :
      1.The surgeons who cannot tell your right knee from the left
      2.The Engineers who don’t know that a transformer gets very hot before it explodes.
      3. The Railway engineers who can’t maintain French engines because they are too hi-tech.
      4. The Railway engineers who can’t maintain Indian engines because they are too low-tech.

      Incompetence has eaten deep into our system. That’s why we need the Indians to clean it up.

      • 1
        2

        Old Codger,

        Bringing Indians is not the answer to our in-competencies! Educating us is the answer to the problems you have highlighted!

        Why are you so desperate to get the Indians to Sri Lanka? Are you an Indian or have been brainwashed by your Indian teachers that they are the best?

        • 2
          1

          RuwanL

          Education, you say? That depends on who is being educated, and by whom. Sri Lanka and India have been independent since 1948.
          1.Sri Lanka cannot produce even rubber tyres efficiently without Indian help.
          2.India sends probes to Mars.
          So which education system do you think is working? Mind you, our system was much better when we had Indian teachers here, in the 60’s. I don’t suppose you have heard of Dr.Abraham Kovoor or Susan Pulimood. Now we have Joseph Stalin!
          When you appoint OL-qualified garbage as teachers, just to keep them off the streets, you get garbage out.
          “Why are you so desperate to get the Indians to Sri Lanka?”
          Ruwan, it doesn’t matter where they come from. Chinese or Germans cannot teach in English . Indians are the most cost-effective, like their Leyland buses.

          • 3
            1

            Old Codger

            “Ruwan, it doesn’t matter where they come from. Chinese or Germans cannot teach in English . Indians are the most cost-effective, like their Leyland buses.”

            It does not matter whether the teacher is Chinese or German as long as he/she teaches English/IT … If Indians are good teachers so be it.

            Here is an appropriate quote.

            It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.

            – Deng Xiaoping

          • 1
            0

            Old Codger,

            Why in English? language does not matter as long as we get smart professional to educate us!

            You are living in the past! Ability to communicate in flawless English is not essential! If u can gt ur msg thru its OK!

            • 4
              1

              RuwanL,
              Why exactly do you object to Indian teachers or workers?
              It is possible to get educated in Chinese, Russian, German, etc, but we will have to learn the language first. Many Sri Lankans are good in English, as are most Indian teachers. And of course we must be willing to be educated. We must realize that there are serious defects in the system. Pretending that we are the best won’t do. Patting yourself on the back is not patriotism.
              I do not believe that a kid with a higher z-score will make a better engineer, for example. I believe even an OL qualified kid who can take an engine apart or wire up a light should be given a chance over the AL qualified human parrot.
              We are now experiencing the results of being educated in Sinhala.(Of course the children of those who introduced that idiotic policy went abroad to study). We went to the extent of inventing Sanskrit technical terms that even the Indians didn’t do.
              For instance, try buying a “samyuktha thatiya” in Pettah!Enjoy the blank stares you get!

              • 1
                3

                Old Codger,

                Indians have been against the development of Sri Lanka! They have always suppressed us from being the Singapore for this region!

                There are good teachers all over the world and we should get the best to teach our next generation! We should setup good private universities and facilitate funding to students for education.

                With regard to Z score, it was introduced to facilitate the village kid who does not have an opportunity of going to a good school, admission to a university

                • 4
                  1

                  RuwanL,
                  ” Indians have been against the development of Sri Lanka! They have always suppressed us from being the Singapore for this region!” If you are talking about the ethnic problem, it was our own fault for not solving it since the fifties.
                  It was not the Indians who suppressed us. It was our own politicians, voted in by our own voters, who were promised more and more freebies at every election.
                  Was it India that promised rice from the moon, took over excellent private schools, and borrowed from all corners of the earth to keep up an unsustainable lifestyle?
                  Have you been to India? Yes, their cities are dirtier than ours. They have more visible poverty. BUT they are not in debt.
                  In 1980 1 SL rupee was 2 Indian rupees
                  In 2016 1 Indian rupee is 2.30 SL rupees
                  We have (allegedly) free education and healthcare,brand new highways and airports, jogging paths and floating markets, but can we afford all this on our income? Was it India that bloated up the Public service, appointing “graduate” nincompoops to every conceivable position? Was it India that gave duty-free cars to doctors, MP’s ,etc ? Is it India that sends female slaves to Arab countries but doesn’t give THEM car permits?
                  Is it really necessary to have a national airline? Is this not what is wrong with Sri Lanka- the clean suit-empty pocket syndrome? Why blame foreigners for our own mistakes? We could at least learn how to live within our means.

                  “With regard to Z score, it was introduced to facilitate the village kid who does not have an opportunity of going to a good school, admission to a university “
                  The z score itself is ok, but the assumption that someone who has a high z score is more qualified to be a doctor or engineer is wrong, I think. I believe many doctors are in it for the money and perks. As to the engineers, we are now seeing their capabilities when handling coal power plants. Aren’t foreign engineers being called in?
                  Ruwan, if your objection is due to the partner country being India, you are dead wrong. India might have bombed us with parippu, but Vietnam was bombed into the stone age by the US, and look where they are now? We must look forward, not remain with Mahavamsa-inspired nightmares.

                  • 1
                    0

                    Excellent answer Old Codger, you have been point blank.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Old codger,
                    I never refereed to any ethnic issue! I am also not saying that we should communicate in one language! What I have been saying is that you need not know flawless English for education as long as you can communicate in any language and get your though across to another person then its OK! That’s how people in the 21st century learn!

                    India does not want us to be better than them! I want our country to be like Singapore and we cant reach that height by getting help from India!

                    • 2
                      0

                      RuwanL

                      India does not want us to be better than them! I want our country to be like Singapore and we cant reach that height by getting help from India! “
                      You keep repeating this mantram. Where is the evidence? As for Singapore, don’t you know that they are inviting foreigners, Indians included, to come and live there, to replace the Singaporeans who are running away to places like Australia?
                      A good example for English usage is India itself, where people from different cultures use it to communicate. Do go to India and see how many Hindi signboards you can find in the south compared to English ones.
                      Ruwan, you must understand that we owe our very freedom not to our so-called ‘National heroes” but to the thousands of Indians who died in the Quit India campaigns.
                      And of course, where do you think our prosperity came from, when tea and rubber were 90% of our exports? It was INDIAN workers who slaved in the plantations, and built our roads and railways. Do show some gratitude, if nothing else.
                      I have mentioned the Indian teachers before. If we still had them, we would not be in this mess now.

  • 2
    0

    Interaction with the wider world is essential for the survival of Sri Lanka on this ever shrinking planet. AND, note, I resisted saying SMALL Sri Lanka. Our blessed country is 91 times larger than Singapore with a population 4 times that of the country we enjoy comparing ourselves to. OR to put it another way, we are as big as West Virginia with the population as much as that of Florida. With all that, we have a anaemic per capita GDP when compared to those two states.

    It is inevitable that we must have a good mutually profitable economic relationship with India, AND others. My point is that with all these agreements, we must be DILIGENT when we enter into these relationships. The last deal with the Chinese ended with us paying for the privilege of hosting over 100,000 ‘Chinese’ guest workers here – and to add insult some of them said ‘you lot are a bunch of layabouts’.

    WE deserve better. We must get those who serve US to raise their game.

    WE simply cannot have half the country marginalised because of caste, creed or gender.

    Another thing; our education system, like our health system is NOT free. It is paid for by the people’s money – one way or another. In any case, with very few exceptions it is not worth the money invested. Underfunded, under resourced and most of the subjects taught are only good to produce office or factory fodder. The one’s who thrive best, here and overseas, are partly due our private schools and the ubiquitous punitive ‘tuition’ schools that supplement the school ‘teaching’. Put that in the scalculation to see how ‘free’ is our ‘free education’ system.

    Much work remains to be done to clear the stables of the smelly stuff.

  • 1
    0

    India has so much interstate barriers even when goods are transported within India.

    Because of that Sri lanka should sign agreements from State to State and not with the whole country.

    Those agreements can be expanded once the interstate barriers are ironed out.

  • 1
    0

    //One only has to try to obtain the services of a Carpenter, Electrician, Mason, Plumber, Welder etc. all necessary in our day to day life. The difficulty in finding good workmen who are competent, efficient and punctual is known to most of us. In such a back ground, the writer is of the view, this country need workmen in many disciplines, may it be from India or otherwise.\\

    Solution: Pay Lankan workers correct salary and wages, and everybody, from mason to doctor will be very happy to be employed in Sri Lanka.
    It will take some capital to invest in, but the returns and dividends will show spectacularly in about 5 years.

    If we get workers from India, the scheme will be subsidized by India, for the sake of the Indian prophesy of owning the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

  • 1
    0

    “ETCA should not be something shoved down our throats by India as they have become apt in doing as of late. That said, we Sri Lankans need to broaden our horizons and look at issues without blinkers such as protectionism.”

    That story makes sense in the context of how India conducted itself with Nepal, because the new Nepal Constitution was not to its liking.
    Also the FTA was not much to this country’s benefit.
    Without reinforcing the industrial base here, sooner than later the country will be a mere exporter of semi-skilled labour.

    Partnerships are beneficial only when they are on equal terms. Sri Lanka has lost everything that it developed between 1956 and 1977, thanks to the whims of JRJ.

    I do disagree on protectionism a little, because everybody does it. The country needs to protect certain sectors from dumping of products from other countries.

    Experience tells us that there is a case for caution, not outright rejection.
    Ranil W’s rush to push ETCA through without thorough discussion after India’s bid to push CEPA failed is worrying.

    • 2
      2

      sekara

      “I do disagree on protectionism a little, because everybody does it. The country needs to protect certain sectors from dumping of products from other countries.”

      Okay, let the Mudhalali make money out of low-quality products sell them at higher prices, cook the books and hide his/her profits. The poor suffers twice once as workers and then as consumers.

      The rich has the choice of buying good quality product at a relatively moderate price, because they have spare cash to play around, or can go shopping abroad.

      The poor will never be able to buy anything of value because the Mudhalali has the captive market to him/herself.

      Protectionism does not allocate resources efficiently, therefore, the poor consumer has no choice but to buy the low-quality product at higher prices. The consumer surplus is siphoned off from the very consumer (mostly poor) that suffer.

      If the manufacturers refused to innovate, restructure, redesign, adapt and change dumping would be an excellent external shock treatment which will make these Mudhalalis move their back.

      I have the majority poor people’s welfare in my mind, it seems you care only about a few rich Mudhalalis who do not produce value for money.

      Are you with the millions of poor or with a few rich? It seem the latter.

    • 1
      1

      The country has to protect against dumping of goods.
      Dumping destroys livelihoods, not of the mudalali, who will still make his profit by importing, but the poorer peasant and other such people.
      Powerful economies subsidize their farming, and then prevent weaker economies from doing the same.
      India got where it did because of protectionist policies going well into the 1980s. Subsidies still exist in some sectors.
      Once a country’s economy is strong, it is another matter.

      Competition under monopoly capital is unfair.
      The masters move the goal posts as suits them.

      When we cannot play the game anymore, we have to change the game. That is another matter.

      • 2
        0

        Sekara,
        You say:”India got where it did because of protectionist policies going well into the 1980s. Subsidies still exist in some sectors.”
        Weren’t we too protectionist till the 80’s?
        How come the results in India and SL are different?
        In 1980 1 SL rupee = 2 Indian rupees
        In 2016, 1 Indian rupee = 2.30 SL Rupees.
        Indian foreign reserves: $ 353 billion
        SL reserves : $ 4 billion and decreasing
        India did not screw up its education system, did not give rice free.
        We borrow money to buy shiny toys.
        “Once a country’s economy is strong, it is another matter. “
        Must we wait another 70 years for that to happen?

  • 1
    0

    Thanks OC
    There has been weak (or no) national economic planning all along.

    The surplus generated by plantation exports was not invested in industry. Attempts to industialize started slowly and continued even under the UNP in 1965-70.
    There were flaws in the economic policies of the 1970-77 regime, despite its vision of national economy: a balance was not struck between essential imports and luxuries, amid obsession about conserving foreign exchange.

    The case I am arguing is not to imitate India or China or any other.
    We thought we were imitating Singapore under the ‘open economic policy’ and in the process Sri Lanka’s entire economy was thrown to the wild dogs of global capital. hen thee was the excuse of the war. Every functioning national asset was privatized.

    What do we do with the foreign exchange brought in by the most underestimated asset of the country, the exported labour?
    As you say, buying shiny toys for a bloating group of parasites.

    My plea is not to wait even ten years, let alone seventy. Nor do I claim that protectionism is panacea. I only said that it has a case. I only want policies to protect vulnerable aspects of the economy and prioritize use of resources with a future perspective.
    Let us not rush into anything without thoroughly studying. Let us not forget past experience with foreign investment. We had enough of it from 1978.

    ps. India has been screwing up higher education by throwing it open to market forces, although its top few institutions are secure. But that is besides the point.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.