Saturday, 11 February 2012

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Deyata Kirula and rural development

The tens of thousands of persons thronging the Deyata Kirula exhibition grounds in once violence-scarred Oyamaduwa in the Anuradhapura district testify to a success story which needs constant highlighting. To begin with, these regions of the country were at one time stalked by LTTE terrorists who swooped on many an innocent life and laid the countryside waste. They were veritable 'no-go' zones which were paralyzed by fear and economic underdevelopment.

But today, the same areas of this land are in the process of being transformed into centres of dynamic economic productivity. For instance, not only is entrepreneurship picking-up but these areas are being brought alive by unprecedented infrastructure development. Roads and highways, for instance, are increasingly prominent by their presence. Besides, the North Central Province is unlikely to be the same after the Exhibition and the boost it has provided to rural entrepreneurship and business. It is important that the state focuses on the opportunities for business and commercial activity that are opening-up in the provinces and Deyata Kirula could be considered a catalyst in this development process.

Considering that the North Central Province was scene to some of the worst terror assaults, this is transformation of the most heartening kind. The North Central Province, which was at one time, devastated, sterile and seemingly beyond recovery, is today bristling with the most interesting possibilities. Over this reality we all need to rejoice.

The state has lost no time in exploring every possibility of developing this and other once underdeveloped areas of the country and this effort of opening the country to development must be persisted with. It is important that the people are presented with opportunities to earn an income and to enhance it and the fact that there is an increasing demand for consumer goods in this country is proof that developmentally we are on the right track.

Yesterday, we quoted Bartleet Religare Securities as saying in our Business pages that the local consumer goods market has emerged as one of the most flourishing sectors in the economy and this should be taken cognizance of by all relevant parties in the country's development process. It was also pointed out that this situation has triggered competition among manufacturers to provide good quality products to the market at reasonable prices and this too should be taken as a huge positive feature of the local economy.

The bottom line is that a substantial number of people are currently spending more and by implication possess more purchasing power than before, although one cannot argue from this premise that poverty and want have been drastically reduced in this country. The correct perspective to adopt would be that more and more persons are making use of the income generating possibilities that the state is helping in creating and thereby bettering their income status.

From this point of view it is a welcome development that a resort for local tourists has been launched in the Anuradhapura District under the aegis of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. This fully fledged tourist resort would cost the state Rs. 300 million but it would prove to be of immense benefit to the local economy. The spin-off benefits from this venture are bound to be wide-ranging and the ultimate beneficiaries would be the people of the district. For, tourism in whatever form would produce increasing job opportunities and enhance the earning capacities of the people. More projects of this kind are the need of the hour.

It is stepped-up development that is the answer to perceived economic hardships. This needs to be borne in mind at present when speculation is rife about increasing power and energy costs. If the purchasing power of the people could be steadily increased through a sustained growth plus equity strategy, the ill-effects of an energy crunch could be offset to a degree.

Free Education proposals and tuition - Part II:

Examination system issues

I should like to refer to a matter of the utmost importance, i.e. The growing demand for free education from the primary stage right up to the university with a view to giving every child in this country the fullest opportunity for the development of his talents irrespective of the means of his parents.

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Political Revery

Crisis in Maldives

On Tuesday, Mohamed Nasheed resigned as President of Maldives, his place being taken by the Stanford-educated Vice-President, Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik. The upheaval was the culmination of weeks of turmoil, which began on January 16 when Nasheed ordered the military to arrest Justice Abdulla Mohamed, head of the Maldives Criminal Court.

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On My Watch

Asylum shopping and how AI earns its keep in Canada

There is no doubt that AI has a commendable record on many issues of human rights and related matters through many years. But its record of deception on Sri Lanka goes far beyond being misled to one of deliberate distortion of facts. Its record of bias against Sri Lanka came into the open a few months ago when the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) held a Walk-a-thin to raise funds - yes 50,000 Canadian dollars for the express purpose of funding AI,

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Trilingualism as a promoter of reconciliation

Language development is vital to raise the profile of our people who now work in other countries. The ability to communicate is empowering, and many of you here would benefit from knowledge of English to enhance your roles whilst also increasing the amounts you earn. Sri Lanka, which has such an effective basic education system, should not be lagging behind countries such as the Philippines with regard to wages, but our lack of English knowledge is a shortcoming,

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