Daily News Online

Wednesday, 30 November 2011






Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

National rejuvenation and income equity

Holding a Parliamentary debate on GNP per capita could not have come at a more appropriate time. As could be seen, much has been happening over the past few months by way of national reconstruction and rehabilitation and an honest debate on how equitably the income of this country is being divided among the people is bound to prove very revealing, besides enabling the state to sharpen its policy perspectives.

The indubitable truth is that poverty has been shrinking progressively in this country over the past few years. So notable has been this progress that today we could easily claim a slot in the Middle Income Countries bracket.

This has been achieved amid a global economic downturn and international social upheavals centering on the demand for an equal distribution of 'bread.' After all, what are the Wall Street protests all about? Isn't it over the people's demand for an equal portion of the national cake, which is seen by them as being gobbled-up by Western corporate Executives?

In this respect, Sri Lanka has been an island of stability in a sea of ferment. While most other countries in the developing world have been struggling to keep their home fires burning, Sri Lanka has kept her economy in fine trim and more than managed to keep the wolf away from the door. While we cannot say that the majority of Lankans are living in luxury, we could claim that they are making ends meet.

All this has been made possible by a relatively active state sector. The point is that essential goods and services have been continuously provided to the people, come what may, and this has enabled the people of this country to enjoy a reasonably good standard of living over the years. For instance, even in these times of the giant super mall, Sathosa has been steadfast in making available to the people essential commodities at purse easy prices. Besides, the Samurdhi scheme has been kept going, despite many persons entering the status of middle income earners. Of equal importance are the essential services which are being continuously provided to the masses, such as, education, vocational training and health. It is these services which have been proving to be central in the upgrading of the abilities of the people and in the general qualitative improvement of our human resources. If the generality of Sri Lankans are managing to steer clear of desperate poverty it is mainly because of the latter factor.

However, all eyes would continue to be on our state agencies with regard to the momentous undertakings the government has shouldered in the once conflict- hit provinces. As reported by us yesterday, more and more displaced persons are being provided reasonably good conditions of living, including a roof over their heads, in the North. In fact, the resettlement, reconstruction and rehabilitation process is approaching its last stages and the news is that the government is allocating Rs 1,000 million more to ensure that the last of the displaced are comfortably resettled and rehabilitated.

While it is gladdening to note that the state is sticking to its task in the former conflict afflicted areas of this country, it is now obliged to ensure that the people of these regions too are reasonably well off citizens of this land. In other words, economic equity should be part of their lot and prosperity should soon be a striking feature of the North-East socio-economic set-up. Thus will economic equity and income parity be essential aspects of our polity.

It should be the steadfast policy of the state to provide equality of condition and opportunity over the length and breadth of this country. This is the key to national well being and durable happiness. When this is achieved, all sections of the people would have no difficulty in identifying fully with the state.

Sri Lanka - from the Euro - Asian commercial hub to pan-world socio-political importance:

An inspiring leader

Foreign relations initiated by the Sangha consisted of extensive missionary services in Southeast Asia. A ninth century inscription at Dvaravati in Thailand contains the opening verses of the Telakatahakatha, which dealt with the story of Kelani Tissa and his daughter Viharamahadevi, Sinhala monasteries of Thaton in Myanmar and Nakhon Si Thammarat of Thailand served to spread the Sri Lankan form of Buddhism,

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The Human Dimension

Its time to share – the season is coming…

The season is for giving and sharing the Goodwill. It is celebrated best by giving – not just presents and money but our time and effort too. How many of us would find the time to go to a home for the aged this Christmas, to sing carols with the in-mates, share some cheer? How many of us would volunteer to go to the children’s hospitals or the cancer hospital to cheer up the patients there on Christmas Day?

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Olcott Oration - 2011:

Role of individual in national development - Ananda can show the way

I am most honoured, greatly honoured, indeed distinctly honoured to be invited to present the Olcott Oration for 2011, this special year in which we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of Ananda College by Colonel Henry Steele Olcott. I cannot think of a higher honour that my school could have conferred on me.

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