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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

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A timely move against corruption

The proposal mooted by Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga to use the State intelligence services to detect waste, corruption and irregularities at State institutions is indeed a sound one especially in the light of the all out war declared by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on these evils, now that the main war is over.

Being the top civil servant, Weeratunga perhaps may have firsthand knowledge on the areas which need supervision in order to achieve this noble objective of the President. There is no denying that bribery and corruption has now become virtually institutionalized in the State sector.

Hence it would take a massive effort to slay this hydra headed monster that has lain seige to all branches and sections of the State sector. That is why we see suggestions coming from the centre of power no less to clear the decks and ensure waste and corruption that had been taken for granted all these years ceases to flourish in the Government departments.

It perhaps may well be a last resort to tackle monumental corruption in the State sector with the evident failure of the established arms such as the Bribery Commission to make any significant headway.

The big wigs in the State institutions are today having it their own way with no effective supervisory mechanism in place to check their misdemeanours. Had this been the case the mega VAT scam at the Inland Revenue Department and similar rip offs could have been stopped before they got started and billions saved for the country.

Today, certain big wigs in the top echelons of power in the Government Departments and corporations have cultivated an insularity to entertain the idea that nothing would catch up with their misdeeds. Some of the recent decisions of the Supreme Court have amply demonstrated this facet.

True, there have been whistle blowers within the set up who had brought such instances to the notice of the authorities. But more often than not these are due to their being left out of the deal for the spoils rather than any altruistic reasons. The Government cannot afford to depend on such sources for information on the sleaze that goes on at State Departments.

There needs to be a more reliable body with no stake in the affair. Hence the idea mooted by Weeratunga for the deployment of a spy service is worth a try. A mole planted in every State Department could be the best solution to elicit secret information on the shady dealings and underhand manoeuvrings by the big wigs in State Departments.

A body of such intelligence operatives working incognito could also be used to make deep inroads into the workings in all facets of a particular State Department to unearth the extent of the corruption which today is endemic extending from the lowest labourer to the highest ranking officer in the State sector.

Such an arrangement could also oversee the performance aspect of Government departments to ensure optimum worker output. In fact, such an intelligence body could go into the whole gamut of ills affecting the public sector inefficiency.

Today State departments and corporations have became synonymous with idleness, lethargy and inefficiency. One has only walk into a government department any time of the day to witness this fact. Empty desks ,employees huddled in groups in idle chatter, rotating fans at untended spaces are some of the common scenes that would greet one entering a government office.

Therefore, raising discipline in the work place is one of the main pluses that could be achieved through such a project. The presence of an intelligence service could also act as a deterrent against petty thieving and graft that run deep in the entire State sector fabric today.

It would also make the public service a more pleasant experience for the general public who are at present being pushed from pillar to post to get their needs attended to.

The Government should seriously consider trying out this method to rein in waste and corruption in State bodies which have been a way of life for so long. It would not only remove a cancerous growth affecting the public service but also bring relief to the general public not to mention the massive slice of funds that will be saved by the State.

Ways and means of tackling Tamil Diaspora

Finding a lasting solution based on constitutional amendments to address the grievances of the Tamil people and drawing more investments into the country will strengthen the military victory over terrorism and rooting out any possibilities of resurfacing of the LTTE terrorism, the High Commissioner said.

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The fall of the Great Empires

The British Empire ruled two thirds of the world. So much so, that it was said in the past that the sun never sets in the British Empire. The new boy in the ‘empire classroom’ is The United States of America.

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Disconcerting military come back in Latin America

Latin America has been turning away from military rule. In fact, it is on a path towards participatory and pro-poor democracy in a majority of countries. The age of military rule by dictators trained in the infamous School of America and buttressed by Washington seemed long past.

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The 'international community' and their agenda on Sri Lanka

This discourse commenced to examine the reasons for the international community's hostility towards Sri Lanka when the country is engaged in a 34-year protracted struggle against the worst terrorist outfit in the world. Especially in an era, where the international community itself, has palpably realized the need to free the world from cross border terrorism.

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