30 November, 2020

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Satisfying The New-Rich Gangs, Education And Health

By Vickramabahu Karunaratne –

Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

One minister has said that pressure of FUTA to compel the government to allocate 6 % of GDP amounts to a terror action. If similar demands are made by doctors for the maintenance of the free health system and Buddhist monks for the up keeping of pirivena education then, according to the minister, system could shut down. This is said by a government that spends large sum of money for various uncertain projects and elite entertainment. It is perfectly OK for the rulers to dish out money from government coffers to satisfy the new-rich gangs that hang on to the regime, but the demand of university teachers to safeguard and maintain the national education system amounts to a terror attack. Education and health are the most important items of the welfare system which promises equity with development. Equalizing effect of free education and free health is obvious and needs no explanation. In Lanka this had been tested by several generations and except the cynical rich, rest are satisfied with the end result. If we have problems then certainly it is not because we have free education and free health; certainly not. On the contrary we are civilized and cultured inspite of poverty, because we had these amenities for so many generations.

Poverty amidst growth is a much debated issue; that is true. The poverty paradigm has shifted from poverty reduction to what is known now as inclusive growth. This is because the process of rapid capitalist economic growth has left out large numbers of people from meaningful participation in social activities. Inclusive growth is concerned not merely with income inequality, but with all dimensions of poverty. It embraces both income and non-income dimensions of well-being. This discussion is very relevant to the Lankan situation. IMF has given green light to the government to go ahead with the dismantling of the welfare system. They wanted the government to transfer the burden of education and health to the private sector to make these profit-oriented, and save money for balancing the budget. While the IMF has taken that attitude in relation to welfare measure in Lanka, the ADB has taken a critical view in relation to growth of poverty. The ADB goes on to say: “While poverty and living standards have improved in the region, more than 900 million people in Asia and the Pacific still live on less than $1.25 a day. In terms of economic benefits and access to social services, large numbers of people are being left behind or left out. In many developing countries, economic inequality has increased in the past decade. Without steps to address these disparities, the risks this trend poses – including social instability – will continue to grow.”

Key word here is social instability. Social instability may express as youth unrest and urban mass actions obstructing the normal life of city dwellers. On the other hand it could lead to national and communal violence with continuous terror actions. We have already seen such developments in this country in the recent past. Even the liberals have recognized the problem and they have suggested several changes in the development paradigms. The new paradigm of inclusive growth emphasizes that the process of rapid economic growth should not leave out large numbers of people from meaningful participation in economic, social and political life in their societies. Increasing economic inequality has followed the economic growth in Lanka and in several other South Asian countries. Thus the main reason for the persistence of poverty was the skewed distribution of assets and capabilities. Unequal assets, wealth and opportunities in turn breed inequalities. Also inadequate opportunities lead to inadequate incomes.

Lanka has improved income distribution owing to its past welfare programmes of free health and free education. Free education is an intergenerational lever to reduce poverty. Many have moved upward socially and economically owing to education facilities provided by the state. It is precisely because of that the university academic strike has highlighted the need for higher investment in education that would make society more egalitarian. Public expenditure on education had fallen to 1.47 per cent of GDP, the lowest in many years. This reduction in educational expenditure could be a setback to social mobility. Reduced expenditure on public health facilities too could deprive the poor of good health.

It is government priorities that determine the allocation of expenditure on various sectors. When governments spend large amounts of money on defence, then there are inadequate funds for social welfare policies that are egalitarian in their outcomes. It was pointed out that defence expenditure had a component of egalitarian income distribution, as the bulk of soldiers came from poor rural households. However all that happened within Sinhala community; many died and lot got disabled. The large amount of defence expenditure on wages would have improved incomes and livelihoods of Sinhala rural households in particular, while the war brought poverty and misery to the victims of war. Time has come for all Lankans to get together and fight to defend free health and free education. This is a common struggle against the chauvinist reactionary regime.

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Latest comments

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    Uneducated uncultured bastards have plunged this country into an abysmal situation of poverty inequality chaos and anarchy with only the Rajapakshas and their goons are living happily from the extortioned money from the poor masses. On the other hand these poor donkeys are deceiving themselves by worshipping swine bones from Kapilawasthu! Why doesn’t someone tell them the truth? All are deceiving each other. Sinhalese Buddhists are a nation of foolish lunatics and no wonder that Pirabaharan criminal attacked them for 30 years!

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    PC election outcomes shows the pathetic performance of all established party political opposition, particularly UNP– even with so much social discontent and economic hardship..
    It is now crystal clear that only FUTA and a social movement for people’s power by professional ans students to ensure inclusive and equitable growth and development is the way forward..
    Meanwhile the search for alternatives to and within the UNP which is dead in the water with Ranil W to continue..

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      The defense budget must be reduced to the equivalent of what is spent on education since there is absolutely NO need for a massive military force in such a small country except for Gota the White Van Goon and his brother’s protection as they loot the Lanka.
      As for military Keyensiansim or the funds spent on recurrent expenditure for soldiers wages is a small percentage of total defense spending which is now going to buy helicopters from Russia and other useless equipment in exchange for Russias support at the UNHRC, military businesses – golf courses, restruants, travel agencies tourism business, etc. run by the military on tax payers money that subsidizes military business which is often build on criminal activity such as land grabbing by forces.. Lanka’s military is following the dangerous trend of STATE FUNDED AND SUBSIDIZED military business at the expense of Education and health as in Pakistan and Indonesia. In the final analysis it is clear that when MR is out of Power Gota the white van goon is set to become Lanka’s first military dictator. This is way the Defense budget should be halved at the November budget and further reduced.. and funding for education and health and human resources increased…

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    Defence Budget to protected country soverignty, territoral intergrity, indepandance and democratic rule of the nation of Sri Lankan.
    Is essentail factor in modern world, as nation to survival internal and extrnal threatan for enimeies. This defeance budget not for Protecated and security only for MR and Family,all communities living in this Island inculding security of Dr Bahu.Your political undersatnding on simple quesation of defeance and security ,on wrong mindset.By the way Educatioanl expanance cannot meet defeance and security demand.Two differant subjects,hope Dr Bahu wan’t mixed items by mishap.
    We relized your political stand agianst boureioise state, but is not only Rich class had been protecated by defence, even civilian life of poors who are selling labour power need, certain type of security of to run thier day to day life.
    As apolitical leader you who seek upside down change in society in Sri lankan ,want higher leval of far sight vision and mission than MR and thier ruling class.In your case is concern differant Dr Bahu!

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    This so called Doctor shows the lack of his knowledge in Economics and displays that he is an educated fool.

    He is comparing 6% of the GDP to the cost of some adhoc projects undertaken by the Government mainly with foreign loans, whether these projects are useful or not. He does not have the brain to calculate and compare the cost of 6% of GDP that has to be spent annually, and the cost of these projects, or he is trying to challenge the intelligence of the masses, probably thinking that they are also dumb like him.

    It is the media who has hyped this foolish traitor who is who is depending on LTTE Funding and working against his own country.

    If he was in different country he would have been jailed for treachery by now.

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    Don Sarath: No he would not unless he would live in a dictatorship like Kina, Iran, Burma or Syria and maybe Russia. In truly democratic countries (not Sri Lanka) he would have the full right to think and express any criticism he want, without being called traitor or unpatriotic. Don’t show your ignorance; instead learn about the rest of the world, and FROM the rest of the world! Besides, the man is perfectly right. There is no need for this giant military precense. There is only need for normal sized, but effective armed forces for domestic tasks. After all, there is no military threat to Sri Lanka from other countries. (should maybe be from Kina if Sri Lanka does not continue not follow it’s directions…)
    More money must be invested in the education and health systems, since this is a prerequisite for a thriving society. The outdated educational system must also be modernized so that Sri Lanka can meet and compete with international competition. Today most advanced infrastucture projects have to be built foreign companies, often with foreign labour, since Sri Lanka does not have a quailified labourforce, skilled in modern technique. New subjects must be introduced already from early age in schools; foreign languages, chemistry, technical subjects and computer science. The use of computers as learning and training tools must incraese. Knowledge area must be widened. Of course increased knowledge levels and critical thinking will also lead to eyes opening up for the deploring sitaution in Sri Lanka and therefore could become a threat to the Rajapakshe family regime. Probably that’s the reason for the resistance from the government to increase investments in education.

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    indian cricket team is pttieahc and sorry if you misunderstood my comment as here we talk about the cricketing isuuse not any thing political.since you talk some rubbish about indian army helping the GOSL well mate you being an indian should be damn ashamed of that as those indian soldier dod nothing but killed so many innocent people and raped so many women in he war affected areas in that period and the politician at that time in SL needed to send them back.They even couldnt beat the bloody LTTE terrorist so how can you say indian army helped us?just read the history and comment and for a country which as one of the largest battle forces couldnt destroy the LTTE but we sri lankans did it and we are proud of it.so again Ravi your proving to be a cry baby. And yes your correct dogs have better attitude than indian maniacs like you.About the issue tell what happened to shewags famous pushing the ball to the boundry deliberatly in the SA tour to get amla off the stricke.where was all this media hype when that happened? shame shame..and if the indian team plays to the spirit of cricket why dont they got that award on previuoes icc awards ceremonies?talking about sportsmenship tell us then why did baji slapped sreesanth when they are national team mates? why dont the indian team doesnt want to use UDRS when the ICC clearly says if the home team likes to use then it should come into practise? how do you say randiv deliberatly do it? do you think sanga is an idot like you to give instructions in whatever language when the stump mic is active? oh how pttieahc these indians are?SLC is doing an inquiry as they dont want to get a bad reputation to the country and the team and for that they are doing it to clear out the matter. you indians fans always charge a person before he/she is said to be guily well that shows the pttieahc side of the indian cricket fans. (0)

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