Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sri Lanka: Political and Economic Update

Sri Lanka: Political and Economic Update- from ADB

The media and public debate on the Sri Lankan economy
Sri Lanka: Selected Issues

Sri Lanka under pressure to de-politicize price index;
Pressure is mounting to de-politicize Sri Lanka's new price index, which the authorities are already using as a guide for monetary policy and are pushing trade unions to accept for indexing wages.

The new Colombo Consumer Price Index or CCPI (N) has come under fire for excluding alcohol in an attempt to understate inflation and also for not representing the spending patterns of working class people.

Sri Lanka's Department of Census and Statistics claims that the new index is based on the international 'classification of individual consumption by purpose' or COICOP.

But one of the eleven expenditure groups in the classification which contains alcohol and tobacco has been completely dropped from the basket. In Sri Lanka alcohol and tobacco are taxed heavily and have tended to increase in price.


Anonymous said...

The 13th amendment implementation for the North and East is currently creating much turmoil and controversy both, in Sri Lanka and in the diaspora. Tamils in the diaspora consider the 13th amendment a waste of time since it falls short of fulfilling aspirations for a completely separate Tamil state, by contrast, opponents tf the amendment consider it to be too much of a concession to Tamil separatism. What, however, are the views of ordinary Tamils in the North who are actually bearing the brunt of the on-going conflict?
Tamils in the homeland are having to face tragedies on an almost daily basis, dear ones killed, others abducted. The fit and able Tamils have fled the soil of their homeland. It is the poor, weak and vulnerable people that were left behind. Everywhere in Sri Lanka ordinary Sri Lankans want the war to stop. Ordinary Tamils in the North long for a normal life: to be able to send their children to school without fear of abduction, to have ordinary jobs and careers, to run businesses, go shopping and care for their families.
Ordinary Tamils in the North want food, shelter, security and the freedom to move about. We all want peace, it’s the lasting solution.
Every government promises something, but nothing ever happens. People have no trust in anyone.
Tamil diaspora keep beating the war drum. They’ve created this situation and are continuing to do so, leading to the complete destruction of our society and traditions. Ordinary Tamils in the homeland do not like violence, nor do they seek violence. Those who take the sword will one day die from the sword. Innocent people are dying in the name of freedom. Peace does not create an enemy. We all need peace!.
The implementation of the 13th amendment is a vital issue as it offers Tamils the chance to govern their region with a considerable degree of autonomy. The 13th amendment is born out of the Indian Accord with the UNP government in 1987, when the Indian Peace Keeping Force came to Sri Lanka to resolve the national conflict. It is roughly based on the Indian model regarding regional governance.

In fact, the details of the 13th amendments are actually more favourable towards Tamils, than the Indian system would have been. For example, the official language in Mumbay is Marathi and the Tamils there are required to learn the Marathi language in Mumbay schools, whereas in Sri Lanka there are Tamil school for Tamil children everywhere in the country. Equal prominence is assured for the Tamil language alongside Sinhala, with English designated as the link language as is again the case in India.
The opponents for the implementation of the 13th amendment argue that it doesn’t offer the Tamils enough. The 13th amendment is already in the constitution, chopping and changing it, is not appropriate. Also, there is no provision for a North and East merger in the present 13th Amendment. The government should govern the country based on the constitution and should do so without delay. The implementation process raised some questions too: why the need for an election or for an interim government?
It is important to point out, that there is in fact a clause, which states that, if one or two provinces wanted to join they could do so with the presidential recommendations. So, why would one want to reject the proposal before having it tested and before seeing how it worked out in practice? Rome was not built in one day! Start with one step and make progress with time.
13th amendment offers a framework for the future. The proposal is for a temporary merger between the North and East, with a referendum to be held in a year’s time to get the mandate from the people of the North and the East. The document includes plans for the development of the systems of health, education, agriculture, transport, rehabilitation,re- settlement, as well as the setting up of new industries. People opposing the plan, tend to ignore the fact that th 13th Amendment is already successfully implemented in eight out of nine provincial administrations in Sri Lanka. Most recently, as a result of the recent elections in the East, democratic processes and systems are being established there. The right of having a civil administration, is only denied to the Tamils in the North, because the LTTE is trying hopelessly to hold out for a completely separate state, their old dream of a Tamil Eelam.
The JVP’s fear that giving provincial autonomy and power to the Tamils may open the path to separatism and Indian influence is also unfounded. The election in the East shows that there is no separatism developing and the provincial administration is fully accepted by the local population. The JVP is supposed to campaign for the poor and underprivileged. and yet it seems to be playing the tune sung by the arm dealers, who want to continue making a huge profit.
For the Tamil people in North, assisting the government to implement the 13th amendment is the chance to be free from the autocratic control of LTTE, a chance to set up a democratic civil system, and to rebuild the Tamil community, the area’s infra-structure, the land, its towns and the country as a whole.
LTTE depends on the financial and political support from the Tamil diaspora, people who hold British, American, Canadian, Australian, French, German, Swiss etc. passports guaranteeing them safety and freedom. It appears that some like to gain moments of fame and recognition through their vocal and financial support to the Tigers from a safe distance. Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, the LTTE is on the run by all accounts. They are on the way out, their forces exhausted as there are no more Tamil teenagers left to be rounded up and abducted into the battle fields.
We are spending more and more money on the war every year, which is delaying the development of our country. As elsewhere in the world, it would not be surprising to discover that the continuing chaos in our country is partly fuelled by those who gain most from it, i.e. the arm dealers and the opportunists. Foreign Arms dealers are getting rich, whilst the young people of our country are dying like flies in the heat of the battle fields. Some have escaped to foreign countries working as cleaners and other menial jobs, whereas youngsters in other South Asian countries, such as India, are working in IT, in businesses, administration, schools, etc..
Our country is a small country and has surely had more than its share of being battered, bruised, tormented, during so many years of war and conflict The majority of Tamils in the diaspora community are peace loving and refuse to get involved with or support such separatist campaigns. Yet, it seems that the dream of a Tamil Eelam will remain alive among some members in the Tamil diaspora. Campaigning for separatism has become an integral part of their exiled life. Whether as part of peace, human rights or community organisations, they themselves of course, are able to live a comfortable life and send their children to colleges and universities. They do not have to live a life of constant fear and deprivation in Sri Lanka’s war zones.
What moral right do people, who are free, safe and doing fairly well have to support a situation which means thousands of people in their homeland are killing and getting killed, maimed, tortured, and women and young girls getting raped. Would the diaspora community allow their own kids into the war zone? If not, why is it alright to ask others to suffer and sacrifice their lives?
Why support the LTTE? The LTTE’s ideology and ‘working’ methods does not resemble anything found within other liberation movements and struggles in the world. How can threatening and killing your own people who are suspected of not towing the line be progressive or liberating? How can the expulsion of people purely because of their different beliefs be progressive? Is it not ironical, that the diaspora communities are enjoying the benefits of a diverse and multi-cultural society in their adopted countries, whilst accepting an organization that expelled around 100.000 Muslims from Jaffna and that continuously pours out hatred against Sinhalese Moreover, do those holding out for a Tamil Eelam really think it can practically be achieved? How does one draw a map separating the Muslim, Tamil and Sinhala communities in the East? Do those who campaign in the diaspora ever think about the Tamil people living in the south? They continue to live there peacefully among the Sinhalese community.
How would a border fence be put up from Mannar to Pottuvil?
Do they really think it is realistic for Tamils to claim for itself 35% of the island’s land and 65 % of its coastal area as shown in the Tamil Eelam map? How likely is it, that Regional Super Power India will support Eelam and the LTTE ?
The dream for a Tamil Eelam for the Tamils will never happen. This dream began to evaporate when they killed Rajiv Gandhi in India, it dissipated when the LTTE wiped out the other Tamil organizations and went on a manhunt, it disappeared out of the window, when the conspirators split the East from the North and this dream of an independent state finally ended when the Eastern commanders walked out from the LTTE’s jungle.
This amendment will be the catalyst for many changes to come for the nation as a whole. The country has the culture and is capable of building things even without importing many goods. Sri Lankans have a holistic approach to life. There are already towns and villages where Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others are living side by side and are helping each other. It seems the poor know better the value of living together, than do the rich and privileged.
Tamils should be entitled to their democratic and human right to rebuild their lives, their homes and their society. Whoever opposes the implementation of the 13th amendment, betray the hopes of the people who want to rebuild their future.
Tamils and all ordinary Sri Lankans long for peace and an end to the armed conflict which has been raging for twenty five years or more.
Being united will bring hope and prosperity to all communities. To fail to grasp this opportunity will certainly bring more wealth for the arm dealers and profiteers, but it will cause continued suffering among all Sri Lankans, especially the Tamils.

Anonymous said...

The actions of Velupillai Pirabaharan, the leader of Tamil Tigers prove he is real tiger. The only business he knows is killing. He killed Kalvian Kaadu Chetty, the person who named the group "Tigers" and the original leader of the Tiger group

Then Pirabaharan tried to kill the next leader of Tigers, Uma Maheswaran in a shoot out in India . He killed the founding members of the Tigers, Michael and Pat Kunam. Pirabaharan himself tipped off the Police about the then leaders of Tigers, Kuttimani and Thangathurai and their whereabouts. This incident led to Kuttimani and Thangathurai’s incarceration until their terrible deaths in the Welikade jail.

Pirabaharan killed all the persons he worked with before he became the leader of the Tigers. He even killed the last surviving Tiger group founding member Sabalingam who was residing in France , because Sabalingam started writing about Pirabaharan's power hungry killings

After Pirabaharan became the leader of the Tigers, he started killing all Tamil political leaders, elected mayors, university professors and many innocent Tamils who had criticized Tigers. Pirabaharan banned all Tamil political organizations for the last twenty years and finally the international community including USA, Canada, European Union, India and Australia has banned the Tigers, mainly due to Tigers' continuous use of child soldiers and their terror activities.

Pirabaharan also killed hundreds of people who were members and supporters of Tamil political organizations. Pirabaharan killed the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He even killed the Sri Lankan President Premadasa who had provided helicopter loads of weapons and money to Tigers.

Pirabaharan clearly knows that under any circumstances except at gunpoint, majority of Tamils won't accept his leadership. That's why he killed all other Tamil Political leaders, to become as the so-called "Sole Leader of Tamils".

Ramachandran a.k.a MGR, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu gave Pirabaharan more than 1.25 billion rupees in 1985. Tamils provided their support to Tigers at gunpoint only and never helped Tigers to grow to this extent. Without MGR massive financial support and Premadasa's supply of weapons and money, Tigers won't exist today.

Tigers are terror loving trigger-happy killers, created by MGR and Premadasa. Tigers' killings are severely affecting the future of Tamils since the killings created a huge political vacuum.
In 1990 Pirabaharan wanted 100,000 Muslims in the North of Sri Lanka to get out within 24 hours, leaving their belongings and treasured valuables - that was a text book example of ‘ethnic cleansing’. Prabhakaran made Idi Amin look like an angel as Idi Amin had a heart to give the Asians in Uganda three months to leave the country and not 24 hours.

Most of the young people who are younger than 35 years, do not know the history of Tigers. They believe that, Tigers became so powerful, because of continuous outpouring support from majority of the Tamils,

If Tamils like Tigers, why is Greater Colombo flooded with Tamils from Tiger controlled areas? If majority of Tamils like Tigers, Tiger controlled areas should be flooded with Tamils from other areas. Why are Tamils trying to escape Tiger controlled areas, rather than migrating to Tiger controlled area?

If Tigers lift the exit pass system and allow free movement in the Tiger controlled areas, except the people on Tigers' payroll, every body else will leave Tiger controlled area. The only supporters of Tigers are that they either do not know anything about Tigers or gain benefits from Tigers.

Why are none of the Tamil business people investing in Tiger controlled areas? Why are even farmers leaving Tiger controlled areas? Why are Tamils living abroad trying to help their relatives to leave Tiger controlled areas? In Tiger controlled areas nobody can express any political opinions or different ideas.

Only things allowed to say are those that support Tigers. No way can anyone criticize Tigers and live the next day in a Tiger controlled area. Tigers that do not care about human lives will never understand even the basics of human rights. Even the hardcore Tiger supporters are not willing to relocate to Tiger controlled areas.

Majority of the Tamil refugees, who claimed asylum in western countries, told the authorities that they were running away from Tigers. If majority of Tamils who live abroad support Tigers, why do they have to be threatened to collect money for Tigers as reported by the Human Rights Watch?

If majority of the Tamils who live abroad support Tigers, those Tamils would line up in front of the Tiger branch offices to drop off money. The major serious problem Tamils are facing right now is there are hundreds of very young terror loving trigger happy Tigers who know only one thing, which is killing another human. Last thirty years, Tigers killed more Tamils than any body else. Also more Tigers were killed by Pirabaharan than any body else.

Majority of Sri Lankan Tamils are patiently hoping, praying and waiting for a new young democratic political visionary as a leader. Until then, gunpoint Tiger culture and never ending killing spree by Tigers will grow and continue.