20 October, 2019

Blog

What Is Wrong With Centre-Periphery Report?

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

If I were to highlight a major defect of the Sub-Committee Report on Centre-Periphery Relations submitted recently to the Constitutional Assembly, and to the public, it is mainly the lack of an appropriate conceptual framework. It must be understood that the task of that Sub-Committee was the most difficult and controversial. The central theme that the Sub-Committee appeared to have pursued was: ‘what were the impediments for the effective functioning of the provincial councils?’ The following was their diagnosis.

“The nature of the constitution, the concurrent list, the national policy in the reserved list, the power of the Governor and the fiscal control by the centre have been cited as some of the main causes for the lack of proper functioning and healthy relations between the centre and the provinces. The Chairman, few Committee members and invites have referred to the unitary character of the constitution also as an impediment for the effective functioning of the Provincial Councils.” (p. 3).

By the ‘nature of the constitution’ they fundamentally meant the existing presidential system. This is agreed by many of the political parties and the people. The identification of the ‘concurrent list’ as an impediment goes back to late 1990s, and G. L. Peiris was the main advocate of this impediment. It is however not so much of having a concurrent list which is the impediment, but its operational provisions in Article 154G. If the tasks under the list are too many and confusing, it could be reduced, but doing away with such ‘joint tasks’ naturally goes against the necessity for having “healthy relations between the centre and provinces” as the Sub-Committee itself has identified.

Further Impediments

On the same premise, ‘the national policy’ should be a joint task and placing it solely in the reserved list could be an impediment. There is no question that the present powers of the Governor are an impediment, but complete nominal/ceremonial Governor or a President might not be conducive under the present circumstances. National security and national reconciliation could remain with the President, and thus his/her representative, the Governor. All other functions could be nominal/ceremonial. Fiscal devolution undoubtedly is a matter to be worked out very carefully and total control from the centre is not conducive for proper devolution.

It must be appreciated that only the Chairman and few other members who have identified the ‘unitary character of the constitution’ as an impediment. The Sub-Committee also has not recommended merger of the North and the East or any other provinces. Therefore, there is no need to be alarmist and create discord by distorting facts and misinterpretation of the recommendations.

This does not however mean that the public or the Constitutional Assembly (Parliament) should agree completely with the Sub-Committee recommendations. There are many technical matters to be sorted out after expert opinion. Before that, having an open debate in Parliament on 9 and 10 December is a useful move to sort out policy guidelines and what is possible and what is not. Constitution making after all, like politics, is an art of the possible. Sri Lanka at present is placed in a better position to achieve the ‘greatest good of the greatest number’ irrespective of ethnicity or religion.

If I were to summarize the essence of the diagnosis of the Sub-Committee, the failure of the devolution so far is located within the ‘coercive character of devolution’ from the centre. This is not necessarily an outcome of the unitary character of the state or the constitution. Devolution is devised to democratize a unitary state giving emphasis on communities, provinces, regions and villages. Devolution is not about federalism although devolution also could play a role in federalism. There are other mediatory factors that have intervened in impeding devolution in Sri Lanka. The bitter experiences of the war, the authoritarian political tendencies after the end of the war, and imprecise formulations in the 13th Amendment governing the relations between the centre and the provinces are some of them. In many respects the 13th Amendment is bad law.

At the same time, some of the impediments could have been overcome through political negotiations and compromise. For example, after the appointment of civilian governors to the North and the East, ‘coercive’ handling of the powers of the Governor has become largely reduced, if not eliminated. The fiscal control from the centre also has eased in recent times. There are no perfect constitutions anywhere in the world. A constitution also means what you make out of what is available. Therefore, the opportunity to draft a better constitution also should not be taken to the opposite extreme, making it difficult for the people’s approval at a referendum.

Mistaken Premises

With all the weaknesses, the main defect of the Sub-Committee report is not about its diagnosis, but about its prescription. To counter ‘coercive devolution,’ it has proposed what I would call ‘surgical devolution.’ It is based on the following premise.

“The principle that each tier of Government is distinct should guide centre-periphery relations.” (p. 23).

It is not that the principle is completely-false. But it is a half-truth. If one places, the three tiers in a hierarchical order in the vertical axis, the result undoubtedly is ‘coercive devolution.’ On the other hand, if you perceive devolution in only the horizontal axis, you may achieve ‘surgical devolution’ or surgical division of powers, but this is unusual even in a full-federal system or a ‘confederation.’ In contrast, the following figure places the three tiers of national, provincial and local governance both on the vertical and the horizontal axis. This could be the basis for what I have called ‘cooperative devolution’ (‘Going Beyond the 13A and Towards Cooperative Devolution,’ 8 May 2016).

Cooperative Devolutioncooperative-devolution

There is no question that, there are or can be distinct spheres for the national, the provincial and the local as represented by the letters N, P, and L in the above figure. Therefore, those can be clearly defined. But at the same time, there are obvious other spheres where the three tiers should cooperate. The concept of ‘cooperative devolution’ derives from this analysis apart from other theoretical and historical sources. These cooperative spheres could be identified as (1) N/P and P/N in the case of the national and the provincial governance; (2) as N/L and L/N in the case of the national and the local governance; and (3) as P/L and L/P in the case of the provincial and the local.

Neglect of Local Government

However much the Sub-Committee report talks about ‘distinct spheres’ for the three tiers, no autonomy is accorded in the recommendations for local governments! The first recommendation says “Recognize Local Authorities as the third tier of Government functioning under the provincial councils” (p. 6). This is like saying ‘recognize provincial councils as the second tier of government functioning under the national government! The ‘distinct’ theory is applied to the provincial councils, but not to the local government. This shows that ‘partial theories are more dangerous than no theory.’

Take Over of Administration!

Under the prevailing system of devolution, it is true that there is an ambiguity about the administrative structures for the provincial councils. This should be rectified. As many studies have revealed, the public servants have been the most reluctant section of society who were not ready to accept devolution at the beginning. Since 1833, the administrative service has been a highly centralized one in the country. In addition, the governors were undoubtedly controlling the provincial public service in the past. However, without making recommendations to rectify the situation, the Sub-Committee has recommended to take over even the national administration within provinces. The recommendations under Administration says the following.

“Devolution of powers has not only to be effective but also avoid duality. (See also the submission of the Northern Provincial Council). For this purpose, we propose that the district and divisional administration to be restructured so as to form part of the provincial administration. District and Divisional secretaries should be re-designated as Additional Chief Secretaries and Deputy Chief Secretaries respectively. All Grama Niladharis in provinces should also be absorbed into the Public Service of the Province.” (p. 20).

The identified ‘dualism’ might be harmful for devolution. The solution however is not ‘monism’ but cooperation. Those who oppose centralization at the national level should not advocate centralization at the provincial level. There is no question that proper administrative structures should be in place for the provincial administration at the district and the divisional level. But this should not be at the expense of subjugating the national administration to the provincial administration at those levels. If this proposal comes from the Northern Provincial Council as indicated, it appears ‘mischievous.’ It cannot be serious.

The sub-committee has proposed the ‘district and divisional secretaries’ to be absorbed into the provincial administration! It further proposes “all Grama Niladharis in the provinces should also be absorbed into the Public Service of the Province.” Under the circumstances, if someone criticizes this proposal as an attempt to ‘liquidate the Sri Lankan state,’ I would not blame that person.

Encroachment of Other Premises

‘Provincial administration’ was within the purview of the Sub-Committee. However, the ‘concurrent list/reserved list, law and order and police powers, land or the constitutional court’ were not. However, they have encroached into them giving the following explanation.

“In view of the fact that there has to be a clear demarcation of power between the centre and the peripheral units, which would lead to healthy centre-periphery relationship, the committee decided to give recommendations on the following also, although these subject matters may be dealt with by the Steering Committee.” (p. 25. My emphasis).

It is common knowledge even in the ‘theory of separation of powers,’ that clear demarcations cannot be made in respect of legislative and executive functions. There are overlaps and grey areas. That is why we have parliaments combining both legislative and executive functions, with relative demarcations, and leaving the judiciary for its independence. Here we are not even talking about ‘separation of powers,’ but ‘division of powers.’ It may be possible for an obstinate legalist to imagine such a surgical division. But common sense politics, let alone Political Science, could not imagine that.

Major Defects

It would have been admissible if the Sub-Committee made their ‘observations,’ as the above matters pertain to the centre-periphery relations. However, they have gone beyond and made direct recommendations, and quite deterministic or ultimatist ones for that matter. This is as if there were no ‘demarcations’ between the Steering Committee functions and the Sub-Committee functions! There has been a clear ‘extremism’ in that respect and in the recommendations. Without dwelling on all ‘extremist’ recommendations, it is sufficient here to quote what they have recommended about the Concurrent List.

“Hence, the Committee recommends that the Concurrent List to be done away with and the subjects added to relevant lists.”
“Also the Committee recommends the repeal of the rubric ‘National Policy on All Subjects and Functions’ from the Reserved List.”
“All subjects and Functions not specified in any of the lists (provincial and reserved lists) should be the subject matter of the province.” (p. 26).

It is difficult to imagine from where this obnoxious notion of ‘doing away with the concurrent list’ has come. Although the 13th Amendment was adopted from the ‘federal’ India, the devolution notion basically comes from ‘unitary’ Britain. If I may quote from an authority on the subject (Michael O’ Neill, ‘Devolution and British Politics,’ 2004), this is what he says.

“Overlap or concurrence between the respective levels of government, rather than their outright separation, sometimes occurs, or is even formally designated, in federal systems of the concurrent variety. Westminster both retains an interest in those policy areas devolved to the territorial governments, and continues to hold de jure power to act (subject to political constraints and an appropriate legal norm) in every area of public policy.”

The overlap or concurrence in devolution is natural and there is nothing wrong in formally designating it as such. In the case of Sri Lanka, it could be reduced. It can be better renamed as ‘Cooperative List’ as I have previously proposed. O’ Neill has not used the phrase ‘cooperative devolution’ that I have used, but he has used ‘cooperative intergovernmentalism.’

The Sub-Committee’s proposal to repeal what they have called the rubric of ‘national policy on all subjects and functions’ from the Reserved List is also not acceptable. One may say it could be a ‘cooperative function.’ Proposal to do away with ‘national policy’ would have major repercussions. Sri Lanka might become the only country without a ‘national policy’! It would have major consequences on progressive transformation of society, and if necessary, future implementation of socialist or socialistic policies in the country.

The third proposal to place all subjects and functions not specified in any of the lists (provincial and reserved) in the provinces, is not only to effectively propose a federal principle but also to go beyond. The result in principle is to subordinate the ‘national’ to the ‘provincial.’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando

    RE: What Is Wrong With Centre-Periphery Report?

    It lacks the Common Sense Pamphlet for Sri Lanka, that should be part of the Report.

    For America…

    Common Sense made public a persuasive and impassioned case for independence, which before the pamphlet had not yet been given serious intellectual consideration. He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity, structuring Common Sense as if it were a sermon. Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_(pamphlet)

  • 1
    0

    These Committee Reports have to be put together and considered for a “Final Report” that could be a “DRAFT” of a Constitution to be again debated and approved by the Parliament and finally submitted for approval by the people. So a lengthy process is awaited. Before that happens, it is a good sign the people are getting involved in a discussion on the Committee Reports. However, there is a wide spread opinion and a thinking among the people that these Committee Reports and the proposals contained therein are “Unanimous” decisions of the members who deliberated on the subject matters assigned. It is not so. There are “Descents” and “Counter” proposals by members as well as other “outside” parties who were consulted to give assistance to each of these committees. I believe those “Descents” and “Counter” proposals are documented or recorded with relevant explanatory notes. For example, the JVP recently at a TV telecast debate expressed this procedure and stated how they objected to certain proposals contained in a report. In like manner, recently through this page the ex President Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse submitted certain opinion on matters relating to some of the proposals contained in such a report. In regard to that subject matter, he (MR) expressed opinion, MP Mr. Namal Rajapakse, is a member of that Committee. However, this does not mean to say, that the people must not start a debate on the recommended proposals. But, this very debate, if not conceived and carried on in a proper manner, the end result would be a complete breakdown of the whole process of bringing in a New Constitution. The people who would have the final say on the matter would be disillusioned and their trust cannot be regained for its approval.

    Already the Government machinery has failed in making people “aware” and “educating” what is going on. Only the “criticisms” and connected “horrors” are circulating among the people. No efforts are being made even through the Government media outlets to tell the people what the process would be, excepting a random remark in Parliament; and to inform the truth and counter the “one-sided criticism” that is being put to the public domain. Then on the other hand, this is a time that the Government is going through a very difficult situation in establishing its “Credibility” especially in relation to actual matters of day to day Governing. There is a WIDE dissatisfaction and a growing discontentment among the people in regard to certain decisions taken recently, such as “Remunerating and providing perks” to MPs and the manner in which the previous corruption cases are handled and also how even at present day such activities are being carried out by the Ministers and Officials. Although the Leaders do not want to admit, the Government is losing its CREDIBILITY on a daily basis and that is a TRUTH and a FACT. When that happens and in an environment like that what expectations the Government has in going ahead with a successful REFERENDUM.

    • 0
      2

      In a divided country it is meaningless to conduct a referendum to find from Sinhalese what the Tamils can get and from Tamils what the Sinhalese can get. Referendum has to be designed what Tamils want for them and what Sinhalese want for them. So the entire constitution cannot be thrown out for open voting. That is only to cheat the Tamils as Sinhalese are not going to vote for any single right for Tamils. Sinhalese have been taught for 70 years to hate Tamils. Just a small campaign in a referendum is not going to provide the education needed for them understand the individual sovereignty of the Tamils.

      The tier system government is not suitable for Tamils. Self determination is the main element needed. Central should not be able to revoke any rights vested to North-East. North-East should be able to govern themselves.

      Tamil Nadu is classic example of what Eelam Tamils wants to do. Tamil Nadu is 11th largest state in India. It is the second largest economy in India. Maharashtra is almost 2 1/2 times of Tamil Nadu. But Tamil Nadu is more than half of the their economy. Its income per head is the second best in the country. It stand next to small Kerala on education level.

      Why the Eelam Tamils should not show their talent like their brothen in the North? Why they want a government under the Lankawe? They need a government with self determination. If the union cannot be maintained they should be able to go alone.

      • 1
        0

        Mallaiyuran

        In a divided country it is meaningless to conduct a referendum to find from Sinhalese what the Tamils can get and from Tamils what the Sinhalese can get. Referendum has to be designed what Tamils.

        Sinhala people, except christians, knows very well what they want

        Tamils shouls Indian Tamil what they want and how they want it in Sri lanka.

    • 0
      0

      Douglas
      Prof L.K.

      Further 2/3 in the parliament has a question mark over it as people are very well aware of the process of bribing the MPs for the agendas of leaders. I mean how can the future generations can respect the document when, looking back, they learn how it was passed in the parliament?

      Unless some kind of ‘conscience voting’ is devised we may as well forget the whole thing. I myself do not know how.

      Prof L.k. is a political scientist. We once paid him for that job in the university. Therefore he has a moral obligation to tell us about the validity in this vote buying process and what can we do to ensure that our representatives ( Is S.B. Disanayake one of them?) are voting according to their conscience.

      How did Dr.L.K. call Rajapaksha ‘dictatorial’ once and vehemently campaigned against him, caliing his defeat at the parliament elections (clean and held well ahead of time, violence free) a ‘rebellion'(5.7 million against 6.2 million) if only he rubber stamped what more than 2/3 of our represntatives wanted?

      Soma

  • 0
    2

    The entire cook up on this article is revolving around this.

    If this proposal comes from the Northern Provincial Council as indicated, it appears ‘mischievous.’ It cannot be serious.

    This is coming because his antagonism towards Northern CM CV. These Sinhala Intellectuals are the ultimate petties. Who need the devolution? Only North and East. Can East talk? No! It’s controlled through Hakeem. But these guys are observing the North is trying to talk. That is why they are dying hard to pick up on North’s requirements of the subcommittee.
    [Edited out]

    Here is Central-Peripheral committee appointed to make recommendation to steering committee. Even yesterday New King has said in parliament that everything is only in recommendation. Anything there in any subcommittee reports can be recommendation only, irrelevant of any words used. I don’t see a reason somebody falsely interprets a recommendations in their own way and jumping up and down for nothing. It appears to be only a paid propaganda service, pledging their self-respect. This is nothing but an artificial argument to sabotage the progress of the constitutional change :It would have been admissible if the Sub-Committee made their ‘observations,’ as the above matters pertain to the centre-periphery relations. However, they have gone beyond and made direct recommendations, and quite deterministic or ultimatist ones for that matter. If one check the meaning “Ultimatist” there is no word like that. So, it is being created show their ultimate displeasure in the constitutional change. What shameless concoction is this with meanings flexed words?

    In all form of government, there is a kind of hierarchy maintained. No “social service lateral” construction possible for governmental administration. Overseeing authority of local governments, logically, has to come to Middle level government. If local are going to oversaw by central, they too are second tier government, not third tier. If there is a borderline problem within two locals they are going to go to central for arbitration. Same way, if they have a problem with Provincial Government, they are going feel it like another local entity and going to go to central. There, the locals, too, second tier governments. These guys can write 1000 false statements. This is not in the Indian Government’s style. This guy is trying to drag Indian constitution here and trying to say that 13A is copied from India. It is not. There is nowhere in the world a dysfunctional example of 13A appearing. One like that can come from the brain of crook like JR to fool Rajiv.

    If one read through, they will understand what he is saying. He just wants the Provincial Governments power eaten one side by Central and other side by Locals, while Locals influence at central upgraded equal to Provincial.

    1. Do not delegate Central powers to the Provincial Governments.
    2. Make the Locals under Central. If any area is not possible, that had to be Locals sole authority, not under Provincial.

    Why he is proposing this complex system, where most of the lower level representatives will have hard time of understanding and running their tier governments. He wants the Locals rescued out of the Provincials. This how the Eastern Province and Vavuniya was captured and colonized. One border village at a time is his theory.

    How can the Locals have two masters, Central and Provincials.

    All these time the West has not been interested in how the devolution is taking place. But the game played by the Yahapalanaya Appe Anduwa has changed it. West was only interested in IC investigation that is mandated under UNHRC and UN. But the Yahapalanaya has successfully dodged it. Every Social Organizations and Tamil Groups strongly opposed in 2015 the watered down resolution that was giving lot of grounds to Lankawe option to the investigation. Now the West is seeing they are fooled in the implementation of that resolution. The Yahapalanaya offer for that is if UNHRC give up that they will do the constitutional change. It is said now, America, Britain, Germany, Australia, France, Switzerland like countries wants the constitution changed so they can work with Lankawe to loosen the UNHRC noose. So these guys are hired to water down the constitution line by line so the Yahapalanaya can fully cheat the entire world.

    We wrote here a story of the four thieves, the One Quarter Thief, Half a Thief, Three Quarter Thief and the Full Thief. The ultimate Full thief cheated the entire Royal team and robbed bags of gold and jewelry, while the One Quarter Thief had managed only to rob a passenger on a road. Like that the One Quarter Thief, Sirimavo cheated Katchatheevu from Mrs.Gandhi, made India to protect her from JVP, but allowed Pakistan use the Colombo Airport to launch attack on India. The Half a Thief, JR cheated Rajiv and Regan. Three Quarter Thief, Old Royals cheated the 22 nations who helped Lankawe in the war. The full thief the New Royals has fooled entire UN and UNHRC.

  • 0
    1

    Dr Laksiri Fernando, has made a valiant attempt to rationalize the select committee report in favour of cooperative devolution, but failed to convince the benefits of including cooperative devolution in the center-periphery report.

    His matrix has not helped him anyway in his advocacy for cooperative devolution.

    The three Tiers of Government proposed should be qualitatively equal in all respects with distinct powers, authorities and functions.

    • The Central Government
    • Provincial Government
    • Local Government

    I prefer to use the term “power sharing” instead of “devolution” because when a constitution specifies powers to the different tiers, then it is not devolution but power sharing.

    In the 1978 constitution power was centralized and the centralized power was devolved through the 13A to the proinces, Now the situation is entirely different. The constitution itself defines powers to the various organs of government. Then it is only sharing of power.

    In this context, the relationship among the different tiers is not vertical hierarchical power relationship but a horizontal power relationship where equality prevails but of course cooperation is the prefered theme.

    I agree without any reservation in the notion that “The principle that each tier of Government is distinct should guide the centre-periphery relations.”

    Local Government
    Local Government shall be a separate tier of Government with a separate List and hence the local government shall be the third tier of Government but need not function under the centre or th province thereby it will be a distinct and autonomous entity like the center and the province.

    I argue my case on the premise that each level of Government should have an individual and significant role to play in governance.
    Necessary and Sufficient Condition for Effective Sharing of Power

    • Clearly defined Functions
    • Adequate, predictable, timely and assured Funds
    • Functionaries assigned to each level of government
    without any duplication or omissions.
    • Freedom(autonomy) to act within the given scope

    But of course cooperation is possible and essential within these parameters for governance to be effective.

    Here cooperatives are voluntary democratic civil organizations without any coercive arm unlike any government organizations which inherently use coercive power.

    The local authorities adopt agency function to central and provincial governments whenever required.
    Administration

    Let there be distinct Central, Provincial and Local Government Public Services.But an all island pubic service service in the Central Public Service and officers from this service could periodically release their officers to Provincial and Local Government Public Services for fixed terms say five years in order to maintain a national standard in service delivery.

    Let there be voluntary cooperation between the three levels of government.. Thus divisional secretariats and

    Grama Niladharis shall come under the Provincial administration leaving district administration with the center, For absolutely necessary central subjects such as census and elections, the services of the divisional secretariats and Grama Nilatharies could be obtained on an agency basis.

    Power of Governor:

    The Powers Of Governor in the 13A is actually a carbon copy of the provisions in the Indian Quasi Federal Constitution. But the difference is that the Indian Governors operate under a indirectly elected President, but in Sri Lanka they are under an Executive presidency. It is advisable to prone the powers of the Governor in Sri Lanka so that they will be almost a figurehead but with effective powers to maintain security of the country and to ensure unity of the country at all times.

    Fiscal Devolution; The share of the Provincial Councils in government expenditure shall be around 25% and the role of Finance Commission should be clearly defined in the constitution itself and they be advised to adopt a need based, performance linked normative expenditure assessment for their recommendation and the Finance Commission should work within their mandate to recommend adequate funds to the provincial councils to meet the needs of the provincial councils and no way get involved in the day to day activities of the Provincial Councils or to boss around the Provincial Councils and local authorities.

    Concurrent List
    Concurrent List in the 13 A continues to be a misunderstood concept. It does not mean concurrent power between the center and the province or the center and the Provincial council do not have any shared powers. On the contrary, the center and the provincial council only exercise legislative power in respect of concurrent subjects in cooperation with each other.

    Once the Provincial Council exercises legislative power on the concurrent subject, that particular concurrent subject becomes a provincial subject.

    Or on the other hand If the Provincial Councils fails to exercise their legislative powers to take over the subject, it will continue to be exclusively under the center.

    I am also opposed to the abolition of the concurrent list completely, but in order to make clearly defined functions to the Provincial List and to make it meaningful it is necessary to trim the concurrent list and transfer the related subjects to the provincial list to enrich the provincial list so that the Provincial Councils will have clearly defined functions. But of course this argument is true in the case of Reserve List also and to transfer some subjects from the Concurrent lists to the Reserve list.

    The concurrent list with the residual powers will ultimately be trim.

    National Policy

    The national policy in the reserve list should be retained as in the 13 A, but with necessary safeguards.

    Thus, the scope of national policy on all subjects should be clearly defined.

    It should not be arbitrarily determined by the center but with proper consultation with the sub national units and with their concurrence, legislation may be brought by the center to declare national oplicy, but the implementation in respect of provincial or local authority subjects shall be left to the respective provincial councils or local authorities.

    The national policy may be in respect of environment, gender, poverty alleviation, human rights including fundamental rights, education , health, and even agriculture, social services and children rights.

    Subjects not assigned in Any Lists

    Finally, any subjects not assigned in any of the four Lists could be considered to be in the Concurrent List.

    Over to you Dr Laksiri Fernando

    • 0
      1

      Sri-Krish,

      Let us not argue too much on semantics, ‘devolution’ or ‘power sharing,’ both can be used in emphasising different aspects, but the general use is devolution when referring to an evolving system like Sri Lanka. In identifying basic principles of a constitution (i.e. devolution) I wouldn’t rely totally on the letter; history or evolution is also important. I do have a hesitation to emphasize ‘power’ too much as a democratic system should be more concerned about ‘responsibilities.’ This is not only for Sri Lanka.

      I have no major objection to agree with your statement that ‘the three tiers of government proposed should be qualitatively equal in all respects’ but when you have ‘distinct powers, authorities and functions’ naturally it is not the case.

      I think I am the first person in Sri Lanka to promote the idea of horizontal democracy (since early 2011) also emphasising local governance, but I am not too idealistic to neglect the existing vertical (hierarchical) dimensions of state structures. I appreciate nevertheless your emphasis and ideas on local government system. Without we two (you and me) too much getting involved in ‘intellectual discussions,’ may I suggest you to contact the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly with your ideas and proposals? This is particularly important because the Sub-Committee Report on the subject is not that satisfactory. The role of an ‘intellectual’ should have both theoretical and practical aspects.

      Laksiri

      • 0
        0

        This will not work.

        Muslims get nothing from these reforms. Why should Muslims support this?

        New con-stitution is only about Tamil Nadu people. Nothing for us.

        Curse!

  • 0
    0

    It is better to consider another matter of concern. In a country where Majority are 70 percent and Minority 30 percent, a referendum conducted on discriminatory issues cannot yield a right decision. Suppose favoring Majority language ,religious and privileges issues will automatically be decided in majority favor. This cannot be regarded as referendum of entire people. Where discriminatory issues are concerned a separate voting should be conducted so as to know what the 70 pc of Majority decides and the balance 30 pc minority decides should be evaluated correctly. If the 30 pc minority does not favor, such discriminatory laws then the proposed discriminatory laws should not be made law. That is justice.

  • 0
    0

    Seriously I don’t understand this ‘power devolution’ business.

    Will these ‘devolved’ units be required to earn their own bread and butter?

    Local politicos will have ‘powers’ over someone else’s (other provinces which also have ‘devolved’ powers) dough?

    And finally what is ‘Centre’? Will it be called “Organisation of United Provinces (OUP)?

    It looks to me the whole damn thing is some silly joke unless God gives money.

    Soma

    • 0
      0

      North East should left financially Independent. If the central wants to keep defense they should keep it. North-East not under threat of any country. If India or China or America wants to fight for Trinco Harbor, there is no point in taking the rapist army against that forces. So North East does not need any defense. They are keeping their 150,000 army and making those poor people to feed the army from their land. 350,000 poor people are feeding the extravagant 150,000 army. This is drying their natural resources and reducing their land as waste lands.

      They should be able to attract foreign investments. They should be given the chances the Tamil Nadu followed and win other states. NPC is not allowed to do anything like that. TN is leading in social benefits. NPC is not allowed to take care of the 90,000 war widows. But when Jayalathitha died, to control the crowd, indian army was coming from other states. That is the number of the army TN is servicing.

      This learned rogues are fooling that 13A is Indian stucture. They want lateral authority to Local governments so that they can keep them under central control. Locals have to be defined as the peripheral of Provinces. Provinces should be able to manage them. No central games in them.

    • 0
      0

      Financial Management of Sea Port, Airport should be with the provinces. Hambantota Management should the responsibility of the Southern Province. If the Old Royals say they are investment, they should ask for that. Aren’t they saying that Harbor is near their house so they are interested in the harbour management?

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.