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Increasing the capital requirement of the Banks

It has become so evident that most of the people in Sri Lanka detest accepting changes in their job, politics, or any other innovative environment etc. As such there were as usual certain criticism when Central Bank of Sri Lanka announced the increase of the capital requirement of the banks.

If you look at it in a prudent way it has to be much appreciated that, it is certainly going to strengthen the banking sector in Sri Lanka, mostly advantageous in the international trade which is now most needed.

The increase in the capital requirement from Rs. 500 million to Rs. 2,500 million may be a considerable shake for the small scale banks, but if you look at it in a different view, ie. with the stabilising the US Dollar now at around Rs. 100 per dollar the prevailing capital requirement is only US $ 5 million which gives a very poor reflection in the banking environment in the international trade.

When the capital requirement is enhanced to the proposed need, automatically the strength and the recognition of the banks will also increase.

In addition bank charges confirmation charges etc. on LCs on imports will also be reduced, and importers even can negotiate for unconfirmed LCs, when the risk factor of the banks get reduced.

It is indeed laudable that some banks are already in the competitive strategies with international trade. We being Sri Lankians should hope that at least a few banks in our country strive and reach the level to be within the best 100 banks in the world, which would yield advantageous to the country.

Today naturally most of the depositors resort to higher interest rates with the very high inflation rate prevailing now, with the new banks who offer innovative facilities, but with high risk. The new proposal will safeguard the depositors to a more healthy situation.

MANGALIKA WIJETUNGE,
Mattegoda

550 Buddhist Jataka stories in English and Sinhala

Schoolchildren attending provincial schools or schools in the villages would have at some stage in their school career heard about the Greek story teller known as Aesop who lived in the 6th century BC whose fables are available both in English and Sinhala and arranged in parts so that schoolchildren could afford to purchase them and read them either at school or at home and derive pleasure in their wit and humour and at the same time imbibe the morals engulfed in them.

Among a population of about 20 million in Sri Lanka the majority of whom are said to be Buddhists, Buddhist sermons and discussions are held almost daily or weekly all over Buddhist temples and other institutions throughout the island.

However, it is rather doubtful whether an impact has been made in the minds of the Buddhists to practise the path they have to follow in the name of the Buddha especially due to the rapid increase in the crime waves all over the island.

The 550 Buddhist Jataka Stories (to be exact 498) have been published both in Sinhala and English in leather bound volumes which fetch very high prizes amounting to thousand of Rupees and the man in the street cannot afford to purchase them. At a time when printing machinery and publishing houses have sprung up like mushrooms the time is now opportune for someone to step in and have the Buddhist Jataka Stories printed in parts or small volumes (like Aesop fables) which would be available in book shops at cheap rates.

The print media in book form will afford a ready reference to the reader to draw and assimilate the religious morals contained in the said Buddhist Jataka Stories.

I draw the attention of the Minister for Buddhist Religious Affairs and the Speaker of Parliament to move in the matter and take early steps to publish the 550 Buddhist Jataka Stories in parts both in English and Sinhala (and also have them translated into the Tamil language) so that even the poor folk can afford to purchase them.

EARL R. DE ZOYSA,
Ratmalana

When JR applied for SLFP membership

Sidat Sri Nandalochana's letter about JR's failed attempt to join Mrs. B's government sent me to my scrap book to get fuller details of this strange episode. The Weekend of January 16, 1972 had this quote from JR: "If the Prime Minister (Mrs.B) invites the UNP to join the government and her proposal is rejected by the UNP.

I may have to join the government together with those UNP members who support my views."

The Sunday Observer of January 23, 1972 had a fuller statement by JR: "It may be that some of them do not wish their privileged position to be changed and are opposed to the new society which the government seeks to usher in. It had to be granted that Sirima Bandaranaike ushered in more socialist reforms during the seven years she was Prime Minister than anyone else or all the others had done before her."

Mrs. B. who had a highly developed sense of self-preservation did not take the bait. She just ignored JR.

But JR was no socialist though in a typical JR manoeuvre he named his constitution "The constitution of the democratic socialist republic of Sri Lanka." The Daily News of March 4, 1987 has this quote from JR. "About 8 to 10 years ago the UNP was faced with the consequences of the nationalisation policies of a set of people who though that socialism was good".

Much later JR came out with an ingenious explantation of his attempt to join Mrs. B's government. "He (JR) said the strange animal that was the SLFP government of the time was so intriguing that he had advocated joining it in order to study the animal from the inside so much so that there was an attempt to expel him from his party." (Daily News December 30, 1991).

It was around this time that JR told a UK journalist: "I have never in my life told a lie, not even a white lie". I have to rely on my memory for this quote because unfortunately I cannot find it in my scrap book.

V. P. VITTACHI,
Colombo 3

The planter and T.R.I.

I have been pondering in the recent past, after gaining some experience in the planting profession over 20 years and feel that I should share my inner thoughts with those who have the interest of the industry at heart and trust they will endorse and support all what I have said here.

In the world of today, the problem of agricultural practices and production have to be scientifically approached and in this context the Tea Planter has to primarily consult the T R I where this subject is scientifically analysed in accord with the changing situations in nature which we are continuing to experience and I need not have to elaborate about them in my expression of thoughts.

There are many more and others are still arising. They are complex and urgent. They hit us very directly and they cannot be ignored. Our reactions to them have hitherto been negative amateurish and futile.

I wonder how many of us even understand the drift and implications of what is happening. It has the inevitability of fate and all the ruthless force of natural law. Some fields of the plantation, I am in charge of showed of failing in productivity and I was very keen to restore the level of production and in the circumstances I consulted the T R I and was quick enough to comprehend my interest and anxiety and after examination valuable advise was given to overcome this problem.

What I wish to impress upon my colleagues is to make use of their practical experience which they have gained in a particular area, and always with consultation with the T R I they could act in the best interest of the profitability, with scientists' support and I have no doubt that our employers will give their blessings.

In every direction whether of cultivation or manufacture, we will soon have to keep abreast of the very latest developments, not only in Sri Lanka, but in other parts of the world as well and the introduction of modern improvements presupposes at the very short of a first hand familiarity with technique.

Consultation with T R I is of paramount improvement. I know, I am voicing my own considered opinion and no doubt, it will have a powerful support of all concerned.

MOHAN RAJENDRAM,
Dayagama

Water Board tariff rates

Till last year the National Water Supply and Drainage Board used to send a circular to consumers notifying any change of tariff. The stealthy tariff increases of this year however are silent stabs.

Water Supply, sanitation, Electricity and transport are there to maintain a reasonable standard of living for the people, and moreover do not operate at a profit even in the industrialised countries.

There is another fraudulent side to profit restructuring.

Top-heavy professional inefficiency poor planning (market economics has a random squint), erratic decision-making and politicalizatioin, remain largely untouched by this 'restructuring' while the evil results of all this is passed on to the consumer in increased tariffs.

This happens more with 'privatisation' and this is just what the ILO pointed out recently at the institutionalization of professional inefficiency in order to exploit poverty not only in poor countries but in the developed world as well.

I. Industrial, commercial and foreign investment ventures which use millions of units are on tariffs far below these for the domestic consumer who uses above 50 units.

2. The sliding scale which has operated upto now has been replaced by a lunatic fringe scale where a domestic consumer is placed on a penalty scale of Rs. 75/ unit for every unit above 15 units if he consumes above 50 units.

3. The 10 per cent surcharge applied temporarily until the new tariff revision has been applied to the bill sent after this.

U. KARUNATILAKE,
Negegoda

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