27 October, 2020

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Govt. Should Proceed Cautiously On Proposed ETCA With India

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

The government has indicated that they intend signing an Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement with India this month. Neither the Parliament, nor the general public have been officially informed about the contents of this proposed agreement. From the draft that has been unofficially released to professional associations by Minister Malik Samarawickrama, we gather that the proposed ETCA is not a detailed document but only a framework agreement which would leave the specific details on the trade in goods, trade in services and investment to be worked out later.

It is important that Sri Lanka should have a robust trade relationship with India. A trade agreement should be entered into only after a proper study of the possible problems and impediments that could arise. We must learn from our experiences with the 1998 Free Trade Agreement with India which ran into many problems in implementation. Issues such as ports of entry, product certification, mutual recognition of standards, Indian state laws governing trade and the caps imposed on certain export items from Sri Lanka all became issues that prevented Sri Lanka from achieving its full export potential to the Indian market.

Apart from thwarting the objectives of the FTA with India, this situation has given rise to a whole narrative about Indian attitudes towards Sri Lanka. The proposed Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement with India should specify in detail the manner in which economic and technological cooperation between the two countries will take place. Our experience with the Indian FTA shows that what was needed was more detail, and more specificity – not less. Hence the government should not rush into signing open ended agreements leaving the specific details to be worked out later.

The Trans Pacific Partnership which was signed by 12 Pacific-rim countries last month and of which our government speaks so highly, was negotiated for seven years and has 30 chapters detailing the manner in which trade in goods and services between the partners will take place. India has signed agreements similar to the proposed ETCA or the earlier CEPA with, South Korea, Singapore and other countries but these are very detailed agreements formulated with adequate economic and national security safeguards. In opening up the services sector, we ought to know clear boundaries of such opening.

I urge the government to take a phased approach to entering to an ETCA with India. In the first phase, impediments to the implementation of the existing FTA with India should be ironed out. The problem of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters which has now reached crisis proportions should also be sorted out at this stage, to create an atmosphere of trust between the people of the two countries. After a few years of operating the FTA to the satisfaction of Sri Lankan stakeholders, we can then go onto the next phase and work out the specific details to broaden the relationship through an ETCA.

At present, we provide a market of USD 4,000 million for Indian goods. The value of exports from India to Sri Lanka and vice versa need not reach a perfect balance under the FTA. However it is vital that Sri Lankans feel that we are achieving our full potential in exports to India without being impeded by various non-tariff barriers and bureaucratic stonewalling. Our focus should be to get India to open up without restrictions on Sri Lanka’s main exports like apparel, tea etc. Trying to broaden the trade relationship with India without sorting out existing problems, will naturally give rise to public opposition.

I urge the government to table in parliament the agreement they intend signing with India and seek the views of trade chambers, professional associations and the general public before making any decision to enter into this agreement. The arrogant attitude the government has taken in this matter may end up ruining our chances of forging a mutually beneficial trade partnership with our neighbour.

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Latest comments

  • 21
    3

    Unwinding the last 10 years of economic mess (debt) in the country is the biggest challenge the current government faces. If the looters repatriate the stolen wealth of the nation would be the best advice the former Dick could offer.

    • 10
      3

      A man who ate the billions, as the new investigations prove – still have got much to say, how we have to go with any kind of trade agreements.

      Even Europe cant be without India and CHIna today. I know myself how many firms in pharma fields – outsource their companies to india. It is the English and cheap labor down there are the main focus of Novartis and other firms to work with indian experts. The very same we the srilankens HAVE TO if the target of 1 mio jobs to be created within the short period of time.

      Not much to China but to india can bring more chances to lanka.

      And also not forgetting that Europe should be the best investing partners to srilanka, if we the lanken universities can provide talented medical and other professionals even Germany will agree lanken docs or the like professionals being appointed to german hosptial. Langauge barrier is common thing to anyone who would start the life in Germany be them russsians or other coutnries, they have to learn German at the begining. So long they can good English, that will not be a problem at the begining. This is common to ones coming from east european contries seeking jobs in Germany. As one who has got close contact with clinics Europe wide, I know the ground realities well in the field.

      • 9
        3

        Sinchoappu

        “It is the English and cheap labor down there are the main focus of Novartis and other firms to work with indian experts.”

        It is not the cheap labour that brings foreign investors to India unless India could supply quality labour to do the job.

        It is the cost-effective labour that produces the goods and services to the uttermost satisfaction of the customers.

        Cost-effective

        – effective or productive in relation to its cost.

        You have this conditioned mind that takes a dig at every opportunity that present itself or created by your superiority mind set at Indian labour, products and services.

        Cheap labour does not mean effective or productive labour.

        • 0
          0

          It is indeed significant cost reduction as to why Novartis to outsource from BASEL to India. Not that they would love to live down there all unhygentic conditions. Hotels are fine but if you come out of the hotel, what you are compelled to see it the hell in India. Europeans lived from their birth on would get schocked once they are down in India. I dont think that is the same if one woudl travell to srilanka.

          I know guys personally that move their chemical plants to India. But there too, they the europen would bear the management while the skilled workers are hired from India.

          And specially there is a greater demand for indian Radiologists. Most get their work done by sending them the radiograms.

    • 11
      1

      When we want your opinion, we’ll ask for it, OK?

    • 7
      1

      Mahinda

      You are f**t*** too much.

      What I mean is that you are producing too much of methane gas.

      It is time to make use of the valuable methane gas that you produce in abundance.

      Capture it at source and turned it into to real economic usage without allowing to pollute the air.

      When can we sit and negotiate?

    • 4
      0

      Mahinda Rajapaksa

      RE: Govt. Should Proceed Cautiously On Proposed ETCA With India

      “The government has indicated that they intend signing an Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement with India this month. Neither the Parliament, nor the general public have been officially informed about the contents of this proposed agreement. From the draft that has been unofficially released to professional associations by Minister Malik Samarawickrama, we gather that the proposed ETCA is not a detailed document but only a framework agreement which would leave the specific details on the trade in goods, trade in services and investment to be worked out later.”

      “I urge the government to take a phased approach to entering to an ETCA with India. In the first phase, impediments to the implementation of the existing FTA with India should be ironed out. “

      Thank you sir, you ate talking sense here. Did you employ a good consultant with good common sense and good critical thinking skills.

      Too bad these were missing during the last 5 years when you were in Office.

  • 10
    3

    Donkey Kong ‘s borrowed script on the web site which he blocked during the Anarchism of ones Rule ,now using our hard earned Democrasy to black wash the GG.
    Real laugh.

    We need a robust relationship with neighbours to mark our status in the Indian Ocean. Friendship with corrupt States will only lead to disaster due to the fact they are only interested in how to gobble up the small sprats and use our resources leaving us Bankrupt.

    The same way any , I mean any good suggestions by the new GG will ” be poopooed “by the modern day saints named cronies.
    All the gangs are released to silence the truths in the country lately by gang related killings, are they really gang related?? Or in the name of silencing the witnesses of the past crimes .??
    These born again saints can damage the country to the fullest. Jealous of GG??

    Can’t imagine why the so called crooks awaiting to answer FCID given a platform and publicity by the Media and website to spread hate ??
    I thought the clause in the law books says ?? Criminals awaiting to answer should lie low and not allowed to spread hate by the use of Media.
    What’s gone wrong with the law in our country?? Can the law stop this propaganda by the criminals awaiting to be charged or facing the FCID ect.

    • 10
      1

      When he spent mega mega SL Ruppees in Dollars and GBP ( Gt British Pound) on worthless Publicity companies in the U.S and the U K to spread propaganda lies did the Parliamentarians or the general Public knew prior to these arrangements and wasted on our state money??
      Did any morons questioned him his wayward spending and pilfering?
      Did he give any one a chance to question??
      He and his Brother saw to the ones who questioned, White vanned murdered or pushed them off the sea or fed to the Sharks.
      The modern day crony saint questioning everything being planned or discussed by the new government ?

      Come on fool , we’re not fools as you think and we are not dumb as you think.
      Remember we’re not ready to loose our freedom of speech which we earned, it’s ours the freedom of speech , not yours or you crony’s.
      Don’t keep spreading your hate speech. Think one is lucky now with the present day government.
      Where were the state wealth supposed to have used for building our shattered country?? No No No all spent on his False Propaganda.
      Real Fool is talking Sh….T now.

    • 7
      1

      I meant the So called super powers worshipped by the past government were free loaders awaiting to gobble us sprats of our little natural resources .That was disaster waiting to happen .

      Now thank god we hope we are off the clutches from them , and do business with India , that way both country can be benefitted and protect each other like ones marriage .

  • 4
    10

    What ever it is, only Sri lanka will lose.

    This will be a good opportunity for India to flood Sri lanka with its unemployed IT engineers when Sri lanka can retrain its unemployed graduates for vacancies in IT industry.

    None of the world companies will establish manufacturing plants in Sri lanka. Because, it is better to establish the manufacturing plant in an Indian state where the labour costs are very cheap, the population is very high and use the economic pact to flood the sri lankan market with that product.

    Sri lankan educated will have lower living standards because 20 million can not over power the one billion. Sri lankan educated will have to work for lower wages.

    As some one said, If Sri lanka expect that India will give their know how and technology free to Sri lanka because of the economic pact, that person is just having day dreams. It is a business world.

    As it is happening right now in Sri lanak, other countries, They will rob every thing from Sri lanka. NOw what is happening is mostly genetic material – medicinal plants and genotypes are stolen. Foreign countries have patents for medicinal plants endemic to sri lanka.

  • 12
    1

    Please stop giving advice. Its a joke when someone writes these articles for you to publish as your own. This is deception and deceit and fraud. You still do not appear to understand integrity, honesty and decency. You have brought the country to financial ruin by the con deals that were done to enrich the pockets of your family members. If you think that by writing this crap the people are going to be impressed you are sadly mistaken as they all know what a crook you are. Time definitely to shave your head and seek solace in a temple.

  • 8
    1

    The rumour is When Mahinda Rajapakse had the god given opportunity mahinda rajapakse asked hugh donations from those foreign manufactures. So they did not want to come.

    NOw, Mahinda Rajapakse, actually, those who ware writing for Mahinda rajapakse have ideas for this.

    One very good case is Basil Rajpakse bought 5000 cows from australia and some went to slaughter and then the milk industry was handed over to a new Zealand multi national company. Grade eight passed people were the economic visionaries in Sri lanka.

  • 12
    1

    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones or walk around naked with only the Sashakaya around the neck. Laughable when this imbecile says that public consensus be obtained for the agreement. When he was in power no one except his family was consulted on all major issues and policies. There was no parliamentary system in place and every institution was defunct. This guy has a serious memory problem. Also experiencing major hallucinations.

  • 11
    1

    Dear CT,
    I have a great idea but if you succeed I will claim ‘Patent rights’.
    Why not make it compulsory a writer has to include his real photo before adding a comment or an article to the forum?. Otherwise please stop including these photos of a dictator taken 8 or so years ago.

  • 4
    9

    What little I have learnt about ECTA has created a bad smell (and, NO, it is NOT my socks, again). When a minnow like our little nation is given the come-hither by a big-bad-boy, the pleasure, as much as the displeasure, is proportional to size (now where have heard that old chestnut before?)

    But the more I read, the more I think of a story of my wise old grandma related (may the dear lady Rest in Peace). Once upon a time, in a farmyard faraway, a hen and pig decided to go into business. They had heard the farm hands always talking about breakfast so, they hit on the brilliant idea of going into the breakfast business. The hen said I will provide the eggs, and you, piggy, could provide the bacon. With that my dear grandma stopped and gazed wistfully into the distance, and we young ones who were gathered around were left to marvel, once again, at the wisdom of elders.

    Caveat emtor, or something like that comes to mind.

    • 6
      0

      Spring Koha, Old Codger, ….

      Would you care to comment on this article which was published in the latest Economists. Is there anything worth learning from Indian experience?

      Online retailing in India
      The great race

      In the next 15 years, India will see more people come online than any other country. E-commerce firms are in a frenzied battle for their custom

      Mar 5th 2016 | From the print edition

      Excerpt:

      IT IS a quiet morning on the outskirts of Mumbai, the air still mild. Dusty streets are dappled with sunlight, a stray dog rummages through some rubbish, the shutters are lifted on a few tiny shops. A man pushes a cart bearing a pyramid of oranges. And a delivery boy named Anil is already racing along his route on a motor bike borrowed from his uncle, his delivery backpack as large as he is. He has been up for hours, planning his route and carefully filling his bag with the packages to be dropped off first stacked near the top. Anil enters a block of flats, squeezes his backpack into a narrow lift and delivers a shirt to a 21- year-old taxi driver. In a neighbouring tower he hands a smartphone case to a 16-year-old who uses several apps to do the shopping for his family. A short ride away, a 78-year-old
      grandmother is a particularly pleased customer—with help from her grandson, she has bought some clay pickling jars that she couldn’t find elsewhere and some high-quality saris at a knockdown price. For Anil, it is gruelling work. But he is betting that e-commerce in India has
      nowhere to go but up, and he wants to ride up with it.

      In the next 15 years India will see more people come online than any other country. Last year e-commerce sales were about $16 billion; by 2020, according to Morgan Stanley, a bank, the online retail market could be more than seven times larger. Such sales are expected to grow faster in India than in any other market. This has attracted a flood of investment in ecommerce firms, the impact of which may go far beyond just displacing offline retail.

      India’s small businesses have limited access to loans; most of its consumers do not have credit cards, or for that matter credit. The e-commerce companies are investing in logistics, helping merchants borrow and giving consumers new tools to pay for goods. Amit Agarwal, who runs
      Amazon.in, holds out the hope that “We could actually be a catalyst to transform India: how India buys, how India sells, and even transform lives.”

      The jewel in the crown

      Amazon wants to make India its second-biggest market, after America. For the time being, though, with just 12% of the market, it lags behind the home-grown successes, Flipkart (45%)and Snapdeal (26%). All three, as well as some smaller competitors, are spending at a blistering
      rate. As global markets dip and Silicon Valley unicorns stumble, the international funding that makes this possible may dry up. Doubts about the sustainability of the companies’ present plans were underlined when, on February 26th, one of Morgan Stanley’s mutual funds marked down the value of its stake in Flipkart by 27%. If the prospect of changing India a billion deliveries at a time is a beguiling one, it is not for the faint-hearted.

      India’s visionaries keep their spirits up by remembering the example of China. Chinese ecommerce grew by nearly 600% between 2010 and 2014, making the country the biggest ecommerce market in the world today. It managed this largely through the growth of indigenous companies: mighty Amazon merely nips at the heels of home-grown giants Alibaba and D.com; eBay has all but left the stage. And in the process China’s top e-commerce firms came to offer an astonishing range of services

    • 5
      0

      Spring Koha, Old Codger, ….

      Would you care to comment on this article which was published in the latest Economists. Is there anything worth learning from Indian experience?

      Online retailing in India
      The great race

      In the next 15 years, India will see more people come online than any other country. E-commerce firms are in a frenzied battle for their custom

      Mar 5th 2016 | From the print edition

      Excerpt:

      IT IS a quiet morning on the outskirts of Mumbai, the air still mild. Dusty streets are dappled with sunlight, a stray dog rummages through some rubbish, the shutters are lifted on a few tiny shops. A man pushes a cart bearing a pyramid of oranges. And a delivery boy named Anil is already racing along his route on a motor bike borrowed from his uncle, his delivery backpack as large as he is. He has been up for hours, planning his route and carefully filling his bag with the packages to be dropped off first stacked near the top. Anil enters a block of flats, squeezes his backpack into a narrow lift and delivers a shirt to a 21- year-old taxi driver. In a neighbouring tower he hands a smartphone case to a 16-year-old who uses several apps to do the shopping for his family. A short ride away, a 78-year-old
      grandmother is a particularly pleased customer—with help from her grandson, she has bought some clay pickling jars that she couldn’t find elsewhere and some high-quality saris at a knockdown price. For Anil, it is gruelling work. But he is betting that e-commerce in India has
      nowhere to go but up, and he wants to ride up with it.

      In the next 15 years India will see more people come online than any other country. Last year e-commerce sales were about $16 billion; by 2020, according to Morgan Stanley, a bank, the online retail market could be more than seven times larger. Such sales are expected to grow faster in India than in any other market. This has attracted a flood of investment in ecommerce firms, the impact of which may go far beyond just displacing offline retail.

      India’s small businesses have limited access to loans; most of its consumers do not have credit cards, or for that matter credit. The e-commerce companies are investing in logistics, helping merchants borrow and giving consumers new tools to pay for goods. Amit Agarwal, who runs
      Amazon.in, holds out the hope that “We could actually be a catalyst to transform India: how India buys, how India sells, and even transform lives.”

      The jewel in the crown

      Amazon wants to make India its second-biggest market, after America. For the time being, though, with just 12% of the market, it lags behind the home-grown successes, Flipkart (45%)and Snapdeal (26%). All three, as well as some smaller competitors, are spending at a blistering
      rate. As global markets dip and Silicon Valley unicorns stumble, the international funding that makes this possible may dry up. Doubts about the sustainability of the companies’ present plans were underlined when, on February 26th, one of Morgan Stanley’s mutual funds marked down the value of its stake in Flipkart by 27%. If the prospect of changing India a billion deliveries at a time is a beguiling one, it is not for the faint-hearted.

      India’s visionaries keep their spirits up by remembering the example of China. Chinese ecommerce grew by nearly 600% between 2010 and 2014, making the country the biggest ecommerce market in the world today. It managed this largely through the growth of indigenous companies: mighty Amazon merely nips at the heels of home-grown giants Alibaba and D.com; eBay has all but left the stage. And in the process China’s top e-commerce firms came to offer an astonishing range of services

      http://www.economist.com/
      node/21693921/print

      • 3
        4

        Native Vedda,

        Not a chance! That’s an American film version speculation of India. What is not seen is the inability to collect taxes so the wheels of the e-commerce can be oiled for integrations of the different sectors of e-commerce.

        High-castes will refuse to pay taxes and hide their wealth in gold, saris, gulab-jamuned tiffins, and nuclear programs to intimidate the Muslims in the North. Therefore E-commerce for the 80% low-castes and untouchables will be jump-started with American aid. Once jump-started, what you describe will erupt in a frenzy for a short time, and then plateau out at a low peak – the gold, sais, julab-jamuned tiffins and nuclear programs will need maintaining.

        Such is the context of the Caste System. It will take over a 1,000 years of e-commerce, American-aid, and hard work from the Lankan appendage for that to go away.

        • 1
          0

          Ramona T
          It is pointless putting facts before you, but here goes:
          The most prosperous period Sri Lanka had was when millions of Indians were working here, in Wellawatta spinning mills, plantations, ports, and government departments. After 1960, everything went downhill.
          Do you know who donated the following:
          1. Khan clock tower
          2. Adamjee Lukmanjee maternity hospital
          3. Kiribathgoda maternity hospital

          • 0
            0

            Old Codger,

            That’s the time employment rate was high amongst Sinhalese.

            • 0
              0

              *unemployment rate, I mean

              • 0
                0

                Ramona,
                You put it in a nutshell. Absolutely true, for once. So now we have high employment among the Sinhalese BUT we have to run to the IMF every few years. Isn’t it better to have Indians run the economy and pay the Sinhalese a pension?

                • 1
                  0

                  Oooh….now that’s a lame set of comments, isn’t it Old Codger.
                  Obviously, Sinhalese don’t like pensions and prefer to be employed in their own land. Yep! Unemployment was highest when Indians were here. And btw,everybody runs to the IMF….most especially India.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Ramona T,
                    You are soo irrepressible. From your perch in Pittsburgh, obviously you have no idea what the Sinhalese want. Why do you think all those unemployable graduates want Government jobs? Some Sinhalese also prefer to send their ladies to evil Saudi Arabia.

                    About India and the IMF, this should put your mind at rest:

                    Till this date India has borrowed from IMF on two occasions*:

                    SDR** 3.9 billion in 1981-82
                    SDR 2.2 billion between 1991-93

                    Both the times, the money was borrowed to fix impending Balance of payment problem.

                    The second 1991-93 borrowing is particularly well known as it paved the way for the economic liberalization of India under leadership of Narsimha Rao government, implemented by Dr Manmohan Singh.

                    *At a Glance – India and the IMF
                    **SDR : Special drawing rights, defined and maintained by IMF
                    Written Jan 12, 2014 • View Upvotes
                    Downvote
                    Comment

                    “Prosperous” Sri Lanka of course has to go begging practically every year. Talk about clean suit empty pocket!
                    Please learn to research before you comment.

                    • 0
                      0

                      India has borrowed a few billions in recent times from World Bank also. Check World Bank Group Finances. Before attempting to bluff, remember that Google is accessible to anyone.

                      With Indians not paying taxes whilst making money on the Sri Lankan potential, many Lankans left their Mother-land to live a life of dignity. It wasn’t easy for many of us in these foreign lands, but we were somehow mixed up with Lankans who took the wealth of the land to show off their statuses in Western lands.

                      ALL countries of the world have a bunch of honorable government jobs. It is only so far that commercial moneymaking can go. The rest has to go towards consolidating the rest of the country body. And in the 1960’s especially, the country body was thin and sickly.

                      But yes, we must have some Indian connexion. But Ranil’s plan to create 1-million jobs from India is too much. Even if capital gains taxation is placed upon Indian firms this time around, they will yet come (although I hear that Ranil is not going to place many taxes on them with the view that job-creation for Lankans will be enough of a bonus from the Indians……talk about gross monetary drain on the backs of Lankan workers).

                      But Indians will take their chance to come all the same. They’d get all kinds of concessions from their government for the golden historical chance to finally embrace our land with the tightest grip ever.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Mr. Khan and company.

                      Wikepedia says : The Clock Tower was built in the early 20th century by the family of Framjee Bhikhajee Khan. This Parsi family hailed from Bombay, India and also owned the famous Colombo Oil Mills as well as other business interests in Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was then called.

                      Sounds like a large company.

                  • 0
                    0

                    How benevolent of them to donate 3 things to Sri Lanka. That’s the least they could have done after paying Zee-ro taxes to Gosl. We should keep the clock tower as a historical reminder of how the system worked when the Indians did not pay taxes, and made money for themselves, and solely for themselves, upon the Sri Lankan potential.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Ramona ,dear lady,
                      You say: “How benevolent of them to donate 3 things to Sri Lanka. That’s the least they could have done after paying Zee-ro taxes to Gosl. “
                      Quite obviously you don’t know that these things were built at a time when GOSL did not exist, in colonial times, by Indian businessmen who came down and prospered here. Do you think the Brits didn’t collect their taxes?
                      Yes, Google is available to every body.Use it please. Here is the link:
                      https://www.imf.org/external/country/IND/rr/glance.htm

                      Do you think the IMF is lying to us? Or perhaps you know better than the IMF?
                      If there is one thing we could learn from the Indians, it is how to live within our means.
                      Keep it up !You provide a lot of entertainment.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Old Codger,

                      In the article, “Geographical location of Sri Lanka and Colonialism” by Fathima Fazeeha, it says:

                      “There are also some negative British colonial impacts on Sri Lankan society. The British adopted a system of collecting taxes in Sri Lanka following the system they had in India. New taxes were introduced for coconut, arrack, fish salt, paddy, tobacco etc. The tax had to be paid in money. This affected poor people very much.”

                      Seems the British did not collect taxes from corporations, but from the individual ordinary person. If they collected taxes from the large corporations they encouraged out of India, Indians would not have come and started the corporations in the first place. So British created their commercial deals and collected dues from the poor Lankan man (previously, they got all these necessities free from their farms and small holdings).

                      Let’s hope that this is not what Ranil intends to do : increase the VAT to 15%, but with no number given on Capital Gains tax (guess that will be about 1%).

                      And Old Codger, no need to bluff yet again : IMG and World Bank are 2 different organization (and not intricately connected either). And India has to pay about two billion off recent World Bank loans, thus making Lanka a necessary workhorse.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Dear mother Ramona,

                      I know it is pointless trying logic with you, but you say:
                      ” Seems the British did not collect taxes from corporations, but from the individual ordinary person. If they collected taxes from the large corporations they encouraged out of India, Indians would not have come and started the corporations in the first place. So British created their commercial deals and collected dues from the poor Lankan man “

                      Please ,please name just one large Indian Corporation that existed in the 19th century at the time Mr. Khan built his clock tower.
                      Really you need to visit your Pittsburgh Public library and get help.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Mr. Khan and company.
                      Wikepedia says : The Clock Tower was built in the early 20th century by the family of Framjee Bhikhajee Khan. This Parsi family hailed from Bombay, India and also owned the famous Colombo Oil Mills as well as other business interests in Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was then called.

                      Sounds like a large company.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Therese, Therese,
                      I am not trying to show off anything.You said:
                      “Oooh….now that’s a lame set of comments, isn’t it Old Codger. Obviously, Sinhalese don’t like pensions and prefer to be employed in their own land. Yep! Unemployment was highest when Indians were here. And btw,everybody runs to the IMF….most especially India. “
                      When I show you the IMF website, you talk about the World Bank.
                      Even if India owes 2 billion dollars , what does it matter in a Trillion dollar economy?
                      “For example, how do you know that the Bikramjee’s came penniless…..They had access to that banking systems you speak of”
                      I have no details on the Bikramjees, but I know that the originator of the Hirdaramani group started off with a small tailor shop in Main Street. They were also the first to set up a proper garment industry in the country .

                      “British and rich Indians for a few centuries……till WW1 and WW2…..and till we got our independence (and have been struggling ever since due to that artificial bubble of colonial wealth,”
                      The British were only her for about 150 years, not a few centuries.
                      I believe you have a problem acknowledging that Indians (both rich ones and the poor ones on plantations) had a big hand in developing this country. Apparently it is ok for you go live in Pittsburgh but a big no-no for an Indian to want to come here. Stop being racist.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Ramona Therese,
                    So you did make it to the library.
                    “Seems the British did not collect taxes from corporations, but from the individual ordinary person. If they collected taxes from the large corporations they encouraged out of India, Indians would not have come and started the corporations in the first place. So British created their commercial deals and collected dues from the poor Lankan man “
                    Bikramjee’s company may sound large to you, but it was nothing compared to the British businesses.
                    These Indians arrived here practically penniless, built up business, and paid their taxes. The British were more encouraging of their own firms like Walkers, Browns ,the Agency Houses,etc.I am sure you will tell me they didn’t pay any taxes either.
                    Do you know that non-Europeans had no access to the banking system? That service was provited by the Chettiars and Afghans.

                    • 3
                      0

                      Sigh,…..Old Codger……you seems to want to show of your knowledge you got from the library. It is so out of context to what we are talking about. Quote your sources anyway.

                      For example, how do you know that the Bikramjee’s came penniless…..They had access to that banking systems you speak of, to jump start their businesses(the service that was provited by the Chettiars and Afghans….as you say).

                      Of course British companies did not pay taxes…..as with Bikramjee’s et al. Taxation was passed onto the ordinary folk,
                      otherwise the article Geographical location of Sri Lanka and Colonialism” by Fathima Fazeeha, would have mentioned it.

                      Anyway, all those companies did not need to pay taxes- not for the workings of Lankan society, anyway. If they did, it was towards British wealth, and to oil the British commercial engine(and the Indians too had to pay for the British wealth).

                      The money bubble created by those companies working of the backs and lands of our Lankans was enough to secure the British and rich Indians for a few centuries……till WW1 and WW2…..and till we got our independence (and have been struggling ever since due to that artificial bubble of colonial wealth, that did not pay taxes for the ordinary Lankan man who lost his lands and livelihood, to live in dignity).

      • 2
        0

        N.V,

        Here is something that Dr.R.N. has written that is very pertinent to the issue:
        “First, let us make a deal with India to provide English teachers for our schools. Without the whole population becoming competent in English we cannot deal with the world. Marginalizing and virtually decimating English language skills, was the the biggest crime our politicians committed against us. Secondly, set up technological institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology in the nine provinces, with the help and support from India.”
        I myself was taught by Indian teachers (in Sri Lanka), who wouldn’t tolerate mangled English. I remember local teachers laughing at their (supposed) odd accents, but we can see the difference in the results.
        Let the ETCA include teachers as well for English, Maths, science and technology.
        I recently saw a newspaper article about a young fellow who had “invented” a “space rocket” which in its next launch would reach 2 Km. I wonder whose ignorance is greater, the news reporter or the young fellow? Is this ,a glorified skyrocket, what we perceive as high technology? Certainly an Indian newspaper wouldn’t look twice. They have had real rockets since 1960.

        • 2
          0

          Old Codger

          ” Indian Institutes of Technology in the nine provinces”

          Given its high academic standards, we would be lucky if we could manage to get one.

          “I recently saw a newspaper article about a young fellow who had “invented” a “space rocket” which in its next launch would reach 2 Km.”

          We used to fire empty toothpaste tubes into the air.

          “First, let us make a deal with India to provide English teachers for our schools.”

          India has made available the facilities, it all depend, how best we utilize it.

          Please read the following statement put out by High Commission of India:

          Inauguration of Government of India funded Language Lab in Jaffna
          High Commission of India
          Colombo
          Press Release
          Inauguration of Government of India funded Language Lab in Jaffna
          Mr. Y. K. Sinha,High Commissioner of India,Mr. V.S. Radhakrishnan, Hon’ble State Minister of Education of Sri Lanka,and Justice C.V. Wigneswaran,Hon’ble Chief Minister of Northern Province of Sri Lanka, jointly inaugurated an English Language Lab in Kopay, Jaffna on December10, 2015 at a function held at Jaffna National College of Education.Mr. A. Natarajan, Consul General of India-Jaffna, Mr. Muralidharan, Director, Tamil Schools Development of Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka, and other senior officials were also present during the occasion.
          Speaking on the occasion, the Hon’bleState Ministerrecalled the relationship that India and Sri Lanka enjoyed from time immemorial. He thanked the Government of India for its continuous assistance to Sri Lanka and requested more support in the field of education and skills development.
          In his address, while welcoming Government of India’sgrant assistance, the Chief Minister stated that the language lab would improve the English language skills of the students of the North, who were deprived of opportunities to learn English earlier due to prolonged internal conflict.
          High Commissioner briefly outlined the projects that are currently under implementation by the Government of India including the Indian Housing Project, renovation of Duraiappah stadium in Jaffna, construction of cultural centre in Jaffna, establishment of Faculties of Agriculture and Engineering at theKilinochchi campus, University of Jaffna, and procurement of medical equipment for the 200 bed ward complex in Vavuniya. On Indian Housing Project to construct 50000 houses, he updated that a total of 40700 houses has been completed till date.
          This Language Lab is one of the nine labs that the Government of India has set up in each of the nine provinces of Sri Lanka. Six language labs in Gampaha (Western Province), Kandy (Central Province), Bingiriya (North Western Province) and Adalaichenai (Eastern Province), Matara (Southern Province) andBadulla (Uva Province)have already been inaugurated. Other locations where Language Labs have been set up are Polonnaruwa (North Central Province) andRatnapura (Sabaragamuwa Province).
          The project has been implemented as part of anMoU signed between India and Sri Lanka in 2011 for “Setting up of a Three-Tier English Language Training System in Sri Lanka”. The total cost of the project is SLR 84 million, implemented under full grant assistance of the Government of India. As part of the project, Government of India has provided 31 computer units and other related equipment, software and latest sophisticated teaching aids to each Centre, and has also trained five master trainers for each Centre.

          The objective of the project is to help enhance the English Language training infrastructure in Sri Lanka; impart training to English language teachers from schools, colleges and universities in Sri Lanka; upgrade their skills; andraise the general level of proficiency in the English language of various sections of society.

          http://www.hcicolombo.org/press.php?id=566

    • 4
      0

      @Spring Koha

      Haven’t you heard ?

      A pact of any sort with Hindians will be good for us. So says the economic whiz-kids on these pages. Objecting to ETCA is akin to madness, ignorance and treason

      So please don’t be so negative ? Don’t you realise India will always be our friend ?

    • 6
      0

      Spring Koha,

      A good story with a message to be cautious. However, we have to sell more than we import and attract investments to create goods, services and investments. We cannot runaway from this stalk reality. We have to be ready to deal with world like tiny Singapore does. It is we who have to decide what is good and advantageous for us. We have to learn to compete in terms of efficiency, quality and price. We have develop our brains as a collective, to deal with the world in terms of innovation and cutting edge technology. India is on this path and though a giant, it has the potential to be gentle and generous in dealing with us, teaching us and setting us on the right path. Let us take our chances boldly, but weighing out the probability of various outcomes.

      First, let us make a deal with India to provide English teachers for our schools. Without the whole population becoming competent in English we cannot deal with the world. Marginalizing and virtually decimating English language skills, was the the biggest crime our politicians committed against us. Secondly, set up technological institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology in the nine provinces, with the help and support from India. In exchange give some preferential trade terms for India for certain items we import, while setting quality standards. We can import mutton, beef and some agricultural produce from India, much cheaper than we can produce here in Sri Lanka, without affacting our local farmers. We can also import small scale industrial equipment from India at concessionary rates. India is also a good source for mass tourism. Provide them what they require by way of services. There are more Indians with the means to travel than we do. Let us cater to their huge film industry by providing locations and related services, at cheaper rates than available in India.

      If we can have the courage to think and be bold, we need not become sausages, while Indua continues to lay eggs!

      Native Vedda, thanks for your comment and contents, pointing out the possibilities we have to cater to demands of the growing e-commerce sector in India.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      • 2
        0

        Dr RN
        I find it amazing that you can be so positive in your attitude towards India given your terrible experience with the IPKF.
        A sign of a true human being , if I may say so. Your comments are very constructive, in contrast to those who seem to know India only in terms of poverty, unemployment and “interference”.
        There is none so blind as he who will not see!

        • 1
          0

          Old codger,

          Thanks for your comment. I swore over my mother’ s and brother’s burning bodies that I will not step into India again, unless I get the opportunity to tell the highest in that land, what I think. I have kept my pledge. I do not hate anybody . I may dislike some, but do not permit it to become hate. My belief in Karma prevents me doing so.
          I do not also permit my likes and dislikes to cloud my objectivity. This makes many believe that I am cold and insensitive. I thank my parents for setting a good example. teaching me the real meaning of religion and making available great books to read from an early age. That was a blessing.

          Dr.RN

  • 10
    3

    Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa,

    It’s obvious that you didn’t write this piece. It’s a sad state of affairs when a countryman like me have sit here and wonder if our former president understands the head or tail of this piece written for him by a ghost writer.

    Anyway, it’s well written and I can’t fault it.

    ” I urge the government to take a phased approach to entering to an ETCA with India. In the first phase, impediments to the implementation of the existing FTA with India should be ironed out. The problem of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters which has now reached crisis proportions should also be sorted out at this stage, to create an atmosphere of trust between the people of the two countries. After a few years of operating the FTA to the satisfaction of Sri Lankan stakeholders, we can then go onto the next phase and work out the specific details to broaden the relationship through an ETCA. “

    Very good point; let India first demonstrate her bona fides.

    The 1998 FTA is a load of crap; India has resorted to every trick in the book to thwart us from doing “equitable trading,” as a result our exports to India is $0.5 billion while India’s exports to SL is $4 – $7 billion (SL government still doesn’t have accurate figures and the Indians are not telling.) Where is the “huge” Indian market we were supposed to tap into? Indians are the best at “Rope A Dope” and if there are eager willing victims, all one can do is just salute them.

    Mr ex-president when we have leaders like you who rob the country blind and a neighbouring big country who wants to subjugate us and fleece us dry, we are truly between a rock and a hard place. All what a decent citizen who is not a rogue can do is get on a boat and go wherever the currents might take him.

  • 6
    1

    Who ever says it, this subject of ETCA must be approached with caution and in put from all sectors of the society. If we followed this subject for the last few months and weeks, it is quite clear that no one objects to entering into this ETCA; excepting that all stake holders are asking is to know exactly and clearly what we are contracting for with India. This is mainly due to the traps that we have fallen into, in entering into agreements with India and I feel that is a very valid reason. As we know, the “Indian Bureaucracy” is the most sharpened tool that Indian Government uses to “twist” the arms of neighbours, especially the small nations like us. The history has proven that beyond any doubt; yet it is necessary that we must also equally match that much talented set up while in negotiations and entering into agreements.

    I recently watched a TV Programme (in Sri Lanka) called “Balaya” – a discussion on this ETCA. This was attended by four important persons viz. representative from the GMOA, Engineers Association, the Deputy Minister Mr. Eran Wickramaratne and the Convener of “Puravasi Balaya” Mr. Uyangoda. I expected to know and learn the subject from different perspective; but ALAS; after a very informative opening statement from the GMOA representative, that “Puravasi Balaya” representative Mr. Uyangoda (second person to make the opening statement) dragged the whole subject to the gutters and from there on wards there was nothing left to be learned. I saw how Mr. Eren Wickramaratne being the most sober contributing some fact and information; but all that were overshadowed by “Dirty Political Muck” brought into it by that “Puravasi Balaya” representative. This I said, because most of these types of “Pandits” who have assumed the role of “Puravasiya” have denied this ETCA to come into public domain and initiate awareness and constructive proposals to emerge for the benefit of the country.

    In that respect, irrespective of who ever who had written this article Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse’s cautioning is very valid and deserves to be taken seriously by the Government, refraining from tainting it with “Political Colour” that would make us BLIND to enter into agreements of this nature that would definitely be “engineered” by that invisible but yet very active and lethal “Indian Bureaucracy”.

  • 6
    1

    “Govt. Should Proceed Cautiously On Proposed ETCA With India”

    MR, you should have given yourself the same Advice, before signing all those Agreements with China! Port City, Hambantota Airport, Hambantota Harbour project!

    • 3
      0

      the difference with him today is, he has no more power to run amok as had been the case with him prior to 08th Jan 2015. At the time, this mad man was the president, he did not know actually what he had been doing.

      Can anybody of you share me please what contact he had been having with Belarus and for what purpose it had been ? In europe only dozens of people are aware of the location of the country.

      Mans syndrome is called over intoxication – own sons went amok introducing night car races – where on the earth a good educated father could allow to abuse the mahajanaya- pulic in tha tway way ? They even added big talks to the media as if they behave prince william of the UK. Once I heard one of their sons commenting on their shoes and the prices.

      And the fact – all various guys that raise voices today, had been sealed off their both ends to that time. Even SB or the other who enjoy the current adminsitration, were also very like intoxicated by all means – thatmay be the great weakness of avarage srilanken politicians (sinhalaya) -we are ashamed to be sinahalyas acutally, but they only focus on the surface issues. That is the reason for all the mess expericned to this date.

  • 0
    3

    WE hope to get a comparative advantage for exports to India. INdia to are signing FTA with other countries. WE have to work ouit a overall advantage that will be longstatnding. German help can be obtained how to base our tarriffs and other barriers. India is not known as a free trade partner.

  • 6
    0

    Mahinda- who wrote this for you?
    When you were in power did you table all corrupt mega deals you did with the Chinese?

  • 9
    0

    can someone jail mahinda and his elder son?

  • 7
    0

    Now you are advising the present government but we you were in power you were blind and deaf.

    Even you were not able to advise your own three sons to behave well.

    They were like animals. Your behaviour was unacceptable.

    During your tenure relationship with other important countries were very unproductive and very poor.

    Now you advise the present government.

    What a shame

    • 4
      0

      This is why he is called Mr. Shameless.
      If he wants to see bonus, he would even go naked and fool the stupid folks. That is his strategy – but knowing well the majority can only approach if he would behave this way. Facts and anything related to that line would not help the majority either. Where all the alike leaders governed, there the majority of people were targeted easily. That is called greediness in power.

  • 7
    0

    Look who is giving advise. Hahahaha……….bloody hambantota clown.

    • 1
      0

      Rajash,

      Thanks for the link. The investment and trade figures are interesting.

      Please Indian investment since 2003

      On the rationale behind the fresh pact, he said there was no formal agreement in place to regularise “investment and services” even though India invested $one billion since 2003 and another $1.5 billion to 2 billion was in the pipeline, apart from the existence of three modes of trade in services and the issue of 350-400 employment visas by Indian High Commission to Sri Lankan nationals last year.

      Terming “absurd” the argument that the 16-year-old FTA had not been beneficial to Sri Lanka, he said that in 1999, the value of Sri Lankan exports to India was $49 million and this went up to $645 million in 2015. Noting that there had not been much increase in the value of Sri Lankan exports since 2005, he raised the question whether this was due to “limited” base of the exports. He added that that the regulatory framework in India was “non-discriminatory.”

      Will someone in the know contradict these numbers?

      The proof of the pudding is in its taste!

      Dr.RN

      • 0
        0

        “Wilson someone in the know contradict these numbers?”

        Dr.RN.why don’t you be more positive…and ask…

        Will someone in the know confirm these numbers?

  • 2
    0

    Mr.MaRa,
    You had the full support of the Brahmin dominated IAS from 2005 to 2010.
    You used to visit some of the famous temples in India and pray to Gods, with the help of friends from the IAS.

    Since 8th Jan 2015 you visit mainly the Buddhist temples in SL & raise political issues through the media. Why ?
    You should visit your favourite temples “Thirupathy” in Andhra and “Kuruvayoor appan ” in Kerala and talk about ETCA.
    Hindu Ram will do the rest and you can become as PM or as President .

  • 0
    0

    As often, we see not the message, but the messenger.

    The case for caution is strong, based on past experience.

  • 0
    1

    Oh just shut up already Percy. Nobody but the gullible village bumpkin believes your tall tales. Stop questioning the intelligence of this countries citizenry with your fables. You are nothing but crook with fiction to sell.
    Here’s a bit of truth that you will definitely find hard to swallow. If you had served one more term you would have made Prabakaran look like a school boy. Just a shut up and await your fate. It’s coming for you.

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