A response to the current national crisis: A way forward



Sri Lanka is at a crossroad. Debate and dialogue abound on the way to handle the present a number of crises that Sri Lanka faces, in addition to the current deadlock of an undesirable Govt with all powers and an insufficient Legislature with little powers.  

The present peaceable, united name of the individuals for actual change requires a transparent imaginative and prescient and framework on which to base a sustainable growth plan for Sri Lanka and assign duty to its Govt, Legislature and Public Service to implement that plan. This evaluation tries to supply a structured approach for the nation to maneuver ahead primarily based on three nationwide priorities, as detailed beneath.

A. Nationwide priorities – 1. Enhancing the wellbeing of all residents, 2. Safeguarding the atmosphere and three. Rebuilding key establishments

Whereas civil and political rights of residents are entrenched within the current Structure, financial, social and cultural rights are much less so. As a substitute, defending these three rights in relation to human wellbeing and safeguarding Sri Lanka’s biodiversity and atmosphere, for sustained human survival and wellbeing, has taken place within the context of civil and political rights enshrined within the Basic Rights chapter of the Structure. 

The significance of financial, social and cultural rights, in relation to human wellbeing and safeguarding Sri Lanka’s atmosphere, should be recognised by incorporation of those rights within the Structure, primarily based on the premise that human rights and environmental rights are indivisible. 

Equally necessary, is rebuilding Sri Lanka’s key establishments for realisation of the primary 2 priorities.  


1. Enhancing the wellbeing of all residents – Materials, Mental and Emotional


What’s fallacious? – The Govt and Legislature have overpassed this underlying purpose. As a substitute, nationwide growth plans have focused the means to the purpose (e.g. GDP progress, FDI, export progress), typically at a value to the purpose itself, of bettering residents’ wellbeing. 


Fast priorities


1.1 International change, overseas debt, inflation, fiscal and financial disaster – reverse ad-hoc detrimental insurance policies, particularly on taxes, instantly; detrimental change and rate of interest insurance policies have already been reversed. Put together a sustainable plan to lift confidence, restructure debt, acquire fast bridge financing for important imports (meals, medicines, gasoline, gasoline, intermediate items) to regenerate economic system and overseas earnings; increase taxes to enhance income; curtail wasteful expenditure; service restructured debt.

1.2 Constitutional disaster – Successive governments have stalled the method of constitutional reform and abolition of an over-powerful govt presidency. The GoGotaGo Motion just isn’t mere manifestation of a cry for a President to resign, but in addition a cry for reform of a structure that over-centralises energy, with no efficient checks and balances. Set up a brand new structure with enter from the general public, utilizing info and concepts given in earlier reviews emanating out of public consultations and reviews compiled throughout earlier governments’ reform processes. 

1.3 Regulation and order disaster – Restore confidence of citizenry within the home safety and justice methods. The applying of the legislation is seen as partisan and the withdrawal of circumstances towards these with political connections is perceived as an unequal software of the legislation. The impartial stand of the Bar Affiliation and the submitting of circumstances questioning state motion or inaction is seen positively. The Supreme Court docket order permitting depart to proceed in circumstances filed difficult the declaration of emergency curfew and suppression of social media networks are constructive alerts. On the unfavourable facet are circumstances just like the Hejaaz Hizbullah case, the place he was launched on bail 22 months after being charged below the PTA with out credible proof, and the Shani Abeysekere case, the place a senior police officer, who was investigating excessive profile circumstances, stands charged with suppressing proof in a case towards a senior DIG.

1.4 COVID-related well being, welfare and financial disaster – Sri Lanka wanted, however didn’t have, an emergency vaccination plan, meals distribution plan, phased individuals motion and transport and financial actions plan in place throughout the pandemic. Assessment COVID-related points, how dealt with and the positives and negatives, in an effort to plan for any recurrence.

1.5 Increase public consciousness on points recognized above, particularly on the structure, the economic system, the legislation, residents’ rights and the necessity for reform – With Sri Lanka presently going through a number of crises, that is lastly taking place now. 


Lengthy-term priorities (Common rights to enhance human wellbeing)


1.6 Proper to illustration – Electoral Reforms for significant illustration at nationwide, provincial and native authorities ranges, together with standards for eligibility of candidates. Have a look at proportional, first previous the publish and different types of illustration and means by which there’s better illustration of girls and minorities. Look in depth on the position of Provincial Councils and whether or not they have certainly fulfilled such a job 

1.7 Proper to justice – Judicial Reforms to result in an impartial, accountable judiciary and restoration of confidence within the workplace of the Lawyer Basic. Introduce sustained legislation reform via a scientific evaluation means of current legal guidelines and procedures which presently hamper supply of justice. 

1.8 Proper to social and cultural freedom of expression and safety (particular person, neighbourhood and neighborhood) – Safeguard spiritual and cultural actions to make sure zero tolerance of discrimination on racial, spiritual, gender or another differentiating issue. Police and authorized reforms associated to household legislation (marriage, divorce, kids’s rights), home violence, and many others. to make sure freedom of expression and safety of minority races and religions, girls and youngsters weak to abuse, disabled, and many others. Construct official trilingual capability to make sure entry to language rights and official communication in all three languages.

1.9 Proper to well being – Coverage reforms and greater budgets for state preventive and healing well being service supply. Assessment personal well being service supply and strengthen regulatory measures to make sure cost-effective service supply to residents.

1.10 Proper to diet – Coverage consistency throughout agriculture, fertiliser use, irrigation, commerce taxes, and many others. to make sure meals safety and improve worth addition in agricultural exports.

1.11 Proper to social security web – Entry to associated info, coverage consistency, welfare and social safety reforms to make sure enough security web for weak and retirement advantages for all residents

1.12 Proper to housing – Coverage reforms to make sure entry to housing markets throughout all earnings ranges

1.13 Proper to training – Training reforms in curricula, trainer coaching, infrastructure, to satisfy present wants. Regulation of personal establishments to complement State academic establishments 

1.14 Proper to gainful employment – Reverse individuals drain (200-300,000/yr). Labour Market and associated authorized reforms to recognise and regulate new types of atypical employment; set up habitable minimal wages coverage; set up first rate working circumstances; permit employers extra hiring flexibility, whereas defending employee rights

1.15 Proper to a clear, sustainable pure atmosphere – Authorized and different reforms and motion plans to reverse environmental destruction. Sustained legislation reforms via a evaluation means of current legal guidelines and procedures which presently hamper safeguarding of Sri Lanka’s sources, with strict penalties below such legal guidelines.

1.16 Proper to info – Clear methodology and entry to public knowledge. Handle insufficient budgets, supply-side constraints and wish for capability constructing in key knowledge companies.

1.17 Proper of entry to important utilities and authorities providers – Nationwide administrative system reform with a transparent demarcation of what providers are to be delivered at nationwide, provincial and native authorities stage. Rationalisation of multi-tiered providers, to get rid of individuals having to hunt a number of ranges of authorisation for easy acts.

1.18 Proper to stability of monetary system and accountable fiscal administration – Reform of CBSL to make sure independence and accountability and of GT to enhance fiscal administration and accountability.

1.19 Proper to conduct enterprise in an moral, clear atmosphere in an equal enjoying subject – Institutional and authorized reforms to rationalise and simplify entry, procedures, approvals, licences, and many others. and to eradicate bribery, corruption and rent-seeking.

1.20 Proper to nationwide safety – Make clear position of Tri-Forces. International coverage reform to incorporate rationale for geopolitical relationships with world and regional powers that ensures security towards worldwide threats – bodily, social or financial.


2. Safeguarding the atmosphere for sustainable growth


What’s fallacious? With out constant plans, pointers and enough checks and balances to safeguard our biodiversity, ad-hoc “development” has taken place at a extreme value to the environment, thereby jeopardising the wellbeing of future generations. 


Fast priorities


2.1 Maritime environmental disaster – Assessment and collect info on the progress or lack of progress on the current case and put in processes to forestall different such occurrences sooner or later.

2.2 Plastic and poisonous chemical air pollution of land and waterbodies – Fast ban on single use plastic, plastic bottles, and many others. with monitoring and punishment of violations to reverse opposed impression on land and marine wildlife.

2.3 Advert hoc development detrimental to biodiversity – Set up clear pointers to observe and regulate all infrastructure and development in all environmentally delicate (see 2.6 beneath) areas – Excessive rises, inns, roads, different infrastructure.

2.4 Advert hoc choices detrimental to biodiversity – Set up clear pointers with respect to landfills, rubbish disposal, inland fisheries and tourism tasks in environmentally delicate areas.

2.5 Correct administration and safeguarding of state lands when it comes to the prevailing authorized framework.


Long run priorities


2.6 Strengthen rules with extreme penalties to guard –

  •  inland and coastal resort areas 
  •  wild life sanctuaries 
  •  mangroves, coasts and reefs 
  •  rain, montane and dry-zone forests, wetlands and water sources 

2.7 Set up and implement rules to reverse – 

  •  encroachment, invasive plant and water plant invasion within the above pure habitats
  •  detrimental landfills, plastic, gasoline and different air pollution inside the above habitats

3. Rebuilding key establishments to make sure independence, professionalism and accountability


What’s fallacious? – An entire breakdown of independence, professionalism, accountability, channel-of-command and decision-making processes in key establishments critically hinders nationwide methods from delivering providers to realize 1 and a pair of. There are presently over 30,000 entities connected to 1,300 authorities establishments with 1.5 million workers. Some have overlapping capabilities, which is each inefficient and dear. 

3.1 Resolution-making – want professionals with acumen in key locations, with pointers for recruitment and reconsideration of all classes of presidential appointees

3.2 Public sector contraction and reforms – Re-introduce duty, delegation of authority, co-ordination, channel-of-command and accountability. Cull ineffective establishments/posts. 

3.3 Corruption – Implement strict penalties towards any type of bribery or corruption in public service. 

3.4 Structure – Constitutional and electoral reforms to handle over-centralisation of energy within the Govt, with no checks and balances. Broaden rights, as outlined in Part A above. Assign all electoral delimitation to at least one impartial authority, revisit the “watch dogs” (CC and impartial commissions) and evaluation their duties. 

3.5 Justice – Carry again professionalism, acumen and independence of judges in all courts 

3.6 Home safety – Reform Police Dept. and Police Coaching faculties and their coaching packages for content material and supply to make sure non-partisan safety of all residents with out the unlawful use of power. Strengthen position of spiritual and cultural authorities to make sure zero tolerance of any type of discrimination.

3.7 Well being authority – Strengthen SLMC, DoH, main healthcare system, healing hospital system, and many others.

3.8 Meals safety, agriculture and irrigation authorities – Assessment and rethink efficiency and coordination amongst DoA, CARP, DoAD, crop analysis organisations, and many others. to make sure switch of data to the agriculture and plantation neighborhood.

3.9 Commerce authorities – Assessment and coordinate efficiency of Commerce Dept, SLC, and many others. to make sure coverage consistency throughout agriculture and commerce.

3.10 Welfare authorities – Assessment, rethink and reform all welfare advantages and the Samurdhi Authority to higher goal and supply life like advantages to the deserving.

3.11 Housing authorities – Assessment the position of UDA, MCs, UCs and PSs, and handle lacunas and duplication in constructing pointers and approvals within the context of environmental sustainability.

3.12 Training authority – Assessment and strengthen DoE, UGC, and many others. to satisfy trendy training wants. Rethink the all-encompassing management of the UGC and foster autonomy in State universities. 

3.13 Labour authorities – Assessment the position of the Labour Dept., Employer’s Federation, EPF, ETF when it comes to employees’ rights and remuneration and employers’ rights and duties.

3.14 Environmental and development authorities – Assessment the overlapping roles of EPA, MEPA, DCC, DWLC, NARA, and many others. and UDA, RDA, MCs, UCs, PSs, and many others. in safeguarding the atmosphere.

3.15 Nationwide statistical company – Construct capability, consistency and timeliness of official statistics

3.16 Nationwide communication and media authorities – De-politicise mainstream media (Newspapers, radio, TV). Transparently regulate telecommunication providers within the residents’ finest pursuits.

3.17 Non secular and cultural authorities – Strengthen legal guidelines regarding social and cultural rights and duties of residents. 

3.18 Nationwide administration system – Rationalise GND and DS system inside districts. Assign to a single impartial Delimitation Authority

3.19 Nationwide transport authorities – Rationalise, modernise and guarantee authorized enactments in place for environment friendly and cost-effective providers of SLTB, SLR, Ports Authority, Airport and Aviation Authority. 

3.20 Utilities (Energy, water, gasoline) – Regulate CPC, IOC, CEB, NWSDB, TRCSL, Litro and LAUGHS gasoline, and many others. for optimum environment friendly uninterrupted service to residents.

3.21 Financial authority, financial stability and monetary system stability authority, monetary regulator – Guarantee independence and relevance of CBSL

3.22 Fiscal administration authority – Guarantee duty and accountability of PDD, Basic Treasury.

3.23 Enterprise facilitation authorities – Reform and rationalise BOI, EDB, licensing authorities, and many others. for optimum service supply to companies for each items and providers.

3.24 Worldwide relations authority – Set up clear priorities and coverage regime in all authorities establishments concerned in International Relations with respect to world, regional, bilateral and multilateral relations

3.25 Nationwide safety authority – Outline position of the Armed Forces and all different Authorities establishments concerned in nationwide safety.


B. Means ahead

 Fast priorities


1. Cut back the powers of the Govt and herald checks and balances, by introducing a twenty first Modification to the Structure that repeals the twentieth Modification and re-introduces the nineteenth Modification with related modifications.

2. Choose professionals with information, expertise and acumen to key positions – CC, Impartial Commissions, CBSL Governor, Chief Justice, IGP, Auditor Basic, Lawyer Basic, Authorized Draftsman, DG/DCS, and many others. 

3. Outline broad areas of duty and coverage primarily based on the Common Rights recognized from 1.1-1.20 above and brought from gadgets 3.4-3.25 above.

4. Authorities Cupboard is to include, at most, 20 Ministries, by grouping Objects 3.4 to three.25 appropriately for optimum effectivity. There are to be no different State or Deputy Ministers. Opposition events to co-operate amongst themselves and set up a shadow cupboard for oversight functions.

5. Assign every Authorities establishment to the related Ministry recognized at 4 above.

6. Assessment all Authorities establishments with a view to eradicating duplication of duty and accountability by retaining/combining/closing every establishment, as deemed related to three above.

7. Reassign workers to people who stay, accordingly.

8. Appoint skilled and succesful professionals, giving due recognition to the SLAS, as Secretaries to all Ministries. Set up chains of command, duty and accountability inside, and co-ordination between, ministries. Maintain Secretaries liable for easy functioning of their ministries and all authorities establishments below their respective ministries. Monitor efficiency and implement stiff penalties and fines below the legislation for any Authorities official discovered responsible of bribery or corruption.

9. Shut all loopholes that permit for political patronage. Ministers shall be accountable just for policy-making and legislating of their areas of duty, not day-to-day operating of establishments.

10. Cut back wasteful authorities expenditure, together with extra safety and pointless “perks” presently offered to Cupboard Ministers and different MPs.

11. Set up codes of conduct to make sure all non-Cupboard MPs attend to their duties of their electorates and on parliamentary oversight committees to which they’ve been appointed to serve. Maintain Celebration Leaders liable for monitoring adherence to such rules.


Lengthy-term priorities


12. Put together a framework for a sustainable growth for Sri Lanka primarily based on the three nationwide priorities mentioned in Part A. All else should movement from that framework.

13. Establish particular Common Rights of residents (Financial, Social and Cultural) to be enshrined in a brand new Structure utilizing 1.1 to 1.20 above.

14. Put together a separate code of ethics and pointers or incorporate checks and balances into the brand new Structure, to handle the problems raised in 3.1-3.3 above. 

15. Put together a brand new Structure primarily based on the above framework for sustainable growth, which prioritises the wellbeing of the individuals and the safeguarding of the atmosphere.


Explanatory notes: 


1. The numbering and sub-numbering used on this article don’t signify any order of significance. They’ve been used for ease of reference and to facilitate dialogue and debate.

2. Sections 3.1 to three.3 are relevant to all Public Sector establishments. Sections 3.5 to three.25 correspond to fifteen Common Rights recognized in Sections 1.6-1.20. 

3. Checklist of 18 instructed ministries primarily based on 3.5 to three.25:1. Finance & Plan Implementation, 2. Worldwide Relations, 3. Defence, 4. Setting, 5. Justice, 6. Public Administration & Safety, 7. Well being, 8. Training, 9. Housing, Utilities & Welfare, 10. Meals Safety, Agriculture. Irrigation & Commerce, 11. Transportation & Communication, 12. Infrastructure, 13. Data & Media, 14. Labour Relations, 15. Enterprise Facilitation, 16. Cultural & Non secular Affairs

4. Acronyms used: GDP – Gross Home Product, FDI – International Direct Funding, PTA – Prevention of Terrorism Act, DIG – Deputy Inspector Basic of Police, CBSL – Central Financial institution of Sri Lanka, ST – Secretary to the Treasury, CC – Constitutional Council, SLMC – Sri Lanka Medical Council, DoH – Dept. of Well being, DoA – Dept. of Agriculture, CARP – Council for Agricultural Analysis Coverage, DoAD Dept. of Agrarian Improvement, SLC – Sri Lanka Customs, UDA – City Improvement Authority, MC – Municipal Council, UC – City Council, PS –Pradeshiya Sabha, DoE – Dept. of Training, UGC – College Grants Fee, EPA – Environmental Safety Authority MEPA – Marine Environmental Safety Authority, DCC – Dept. of Coast Conservation, DWLC – Dept. of Wildlife Conservation, NARA – Nationwide Aquatic Sources Analysis and Improvement Company, RDA – Highway Improvement Authority, GND – Grama Niladhari Division, DS – Divisional Secretariat, SLTB – Sri Lanka Transport Board, SLR – Sri Lanka Railways, CPC – Ceylon Petroleum Company, IOC – Indian Oil Firm, CEB – Ceylon Electrical energy Board, NWSDB – Nationwide Water Provide and Drainage Board, TRCSL – Telecommunication Regulatory Fee of Sri Lanka, PDD – Public Debt Dept., CBSL, BOI – Board of Funding, EDB – Export Improvement Board, IGP – Inspector Basic of Police, DG/DCS – Director Basic/Dept. of Census and Statistics


(Sharya Scharenguivel, MLitt., is Emeritus Professor of Regulation, College of Colombo, and Anila Dias Bandaranaike, Ph.D., is a former Assistant Governor and Director of Statistics, Central Financial institution of Sri Lanka.)

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