Friday, February 24, 2017

Socio-economic rights in Sri Lanka's constitution may backfire on the poor

ECONOMYNEXT - Inserting socio-economic rights into a constitution has backfired on the in several developing countries that has tried it, a political scientist has warned as Sri Lanka considers following on the same path.

Well intentioned people generally wanted to constitutionalize socio-economic rights after looking at areas like Scandinavia, where people have high living standards and the state appear to have a hand in it, which seems to be lacking in developing countries.

"We have a fascination with constitutionalising this because we think in the absence of a justiciable constitution right, our legislature, ministers, and the Parliament, will not create the conditions to achieve these rights," Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta, told a forum organized by Advocata Institute, a freemarket think tank and Echelon Magazine.

"The idea that that constitutionalising these rights is a necessary condition for achieving a particular goal is simply a false idea."

"Most countries that have achieved these rights in Scandinavia and in advanced developed countries have done so without constitutionalising them."

Professor Mehta is a political scientist from India who has taught at Harvard University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the New York University School of Law. He leads the Centre for Policy Research, an India based think tank.

State Tyranny

The first constitutions were built in the West to protect people from tyranny and contained robust measures to restrain the state or monarch (expand individual freedom) and provide absolute guarantees of equality (outlaw discrimination).

Among the most basic concepts governing individual freedom and sovereignty was the right to life, liberty and property. Such rights, allowed Western so-called capitalist nations to grow fast and their people attained high living standards.

Such rights were mostly negative rights, which prevented the armed (or violent) state and sections of society with more power (armed robbers or the rich and influential) to take way the most basic rights of others (usually weaker sections of society) by force. 

Classical liberals and freedom advocates, have generally objected to socio-economic rights (a so-called positive right where the government gives something) as it empowers the state to grab property from one citizen and redistribute to others. They fear a drift towards a Marxist or socialist state, which were entirely built on such concepts.

The US constitution provide only one key such right, the right to a fair trial, for which the government has to build and maintain a court system.

If economic rights are included it is necessary to specify some mechanism to provide those rights at the same time, Mehta said.

In India, the architects of the constitution kept economic rights out of the constitution, but the Supreme Court has interpreted the constitution over time to include such rights.

Perverse Outcomes

One problem was that large sums of may be needed to give some economic rights, which may not be available without many new taxes being charged from everyone.

But one of the biggest dangers of socio-economic rights was that constitutionalizing economic rights with good intentions may result in basic rights of weaker sections of the population being undermined.

In India the right to property was interpreted to enable re-distribution of property. This has resulted in undermining property rights overall, threatening poor people in particular.

"But looking back over the last 70 years it allowed the state to dispossess the poor much more than it dispossessed the rich. 

"The state used its powers of eminent domain to help all manner of property developers to evict the poor."

Eminent domain refers to taking over private property to build public infrastructure like roads with timely and adequate compensation. But it should not apply to private projects, which should be based on free exchange.

In Brazil, the healthcare system has been mired in litigation, after constitutionalizing such rights, with the rich and powerful going to court to demand the most expensive treatment, resulting in the system becoming regressive.

In Sri Lanka freedom advocates say the Urban Development Authority and the Board of Investment already has excessive powers to expropriate citizen's land for private purposes.

Sri Lanka is also a country which has a constitution which has expanded the arbitrary powers of the rulers, violating a basic principle of constitution making, other analysts have said. 

The people were even denied a fair trial with rulers interfering in the judiciary. There is now a social pushback to re-draw a constitution of liberty to take back lost freedoms.

Mehta says the fascination with constitutionalising socio-economic rights "come from a feeling of deep state failure," but simply putting such rights will not make them happen.

"The discourse on economic rights in developing countries emerges from a history of state failure," Mehta says. 

"We want to go to court because legislature does not give us these rights. 

"Paradoxically if we live in a country where the legislature does not deliver these rights in the course of normal give and take of representative politics, it is highly unlikely to even if constitutionalised it is unlikely to have  the effective institutions to deliver these rights."

In many countries, and also in Sri Lanka healthcare and education is provided through normal legislation. Mehta says this is the right way to do it as requirements may change over time.

Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva says in Sri Lanka education and healthcare has reached a large number of people using ordinary legislative procedures.  He said more improvements are planned.

Both publicly supported education and healthcare started under British rule and has been progressively expanded.

Rohan Samarajiva, head of LirneAsia, a regional think tank, says he was once asked whether internet should not be made a basic right. 

But a few decades ago, people may have said a sewing machine was a basic right, when internet was unknown, he pointed out. (Colombo/Feb25/2017)

Let’s pray for the Family Silver

Don’t you think the recently established National Asset Protection Centre would be better named as the Family Silver Protection Centre?

C’mon…what has family silver to do with national assets?

I’m only going by what former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the brains behind National Asset Protection, has said.
What has he said?
He says the new centre is necessary because the selling of Family Silver was the only strategy the UNP knows to develop the country.
So what has National Assets got to do with Family Silver?

One thinks he must know it best, because of all that Family Silver acquired in his time,  had so much to do with National Assets.
But don’t you think he is looking at the Nation as a Family, when he considers the UNP’s National Asset sales – or privatization policies, as Family Silver sales?
Of course, he knows best the link between National Assets and Family Silver. Look at one big example he gives. SriLankan Airlines.
Why, what about SriLankan? Is it not a national asset?
Of course, it is. He says they acquired SriLankan instead of selling it or privatizing it.
Isn’t that true?
It is true in parts. It was acquired because he could not get a seat on it on a return flight from London. It was making a profit in partnership with another airline at the time. And since then, it has been making big losses, and continues so to this day under the Silver Selling UNP, too.
But isn’t it the right of a National Asset that is publicly owned to be making losses? Surely, you must know that profit is to do with capitalism and the liberal economy, while losses are part of a national economy.
But why don’t you look at the family side of the SriLankan national asset?
What family side are you talking about?
I’m just thinking of the Family Silver side. The Chairman of the state acquired SriLankan was his brother-in-law. No doubt he had great trust in his family…so the choice was obvious. But don’t you think it was a National Asset going waste, while the Family Silver was getting more value?
But what about the UNP’s selling of the Hambantota Port to a Chinese company…isn’t that the loss of a National Asset?
Don’t you know that everything built in Hambantota was kept as part of Family Silver, with the country having to bear all the losses on the huge loans taken from the Chinese themselves?
Alright. Hambantota was the hometown and had much to do with Family Silver.
But what else can you say?
If you must know, the Family Silver extends a very long way…It runs through the whole family. Just look at the CSN assets that came to one son. That surely is a whole lot of Family Silver, whether you consider it a National Asset or not.
Why not…It was the National Sports TV broadcaster.
Have you forgotten how Sri Lanka Cricket and ITN  so readily handed over the telecasting to CSN, and the unknown sources of funds for its equipment worth millions. That is certainly a whole lot of Family Silver.


You want to know anymore…What about all those millions that came for the promotion of Rugby? It was a huge asset gained by the elder son, who scored big tries, with no challenge at all. That is surely another huge lot of Family Silver.
Hold on…What do you have to say about the UNP and its SLFP ally wanting to sell our national assets through privatization? Shouldn’t we put a stop to that?
Of course, we must raise a cry against that. But isn’t it better if the first shouts come from those who have never been associated with the huge acquisition and accretion of national assets as Family Silver?
Isn’t it better if the call to protect National Assets or Family Silver comes from those who were not involved in Divi Neguma, which was one huge means of diverting national assets to actual Family Silver, and spread over immediate, close and distant members of a family of acquisition?
With the UNP in an assets selling mood, while Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition are in the assets protection mood today, we are caught in a quandary between the sellers and gatherers of Family Silver. The trouble is that Family Silver hoarders are in power today, just as earlier. There can be little hope for the Family Silver being kept safe from these ravagers and plunderers on either side of the political divide.

Just pray for the Family Silver to be safe.
The Island

High perks poor man’s burden!

By  - The Nation

Some people say stupid things. Others with a measure of public prominence believe their position gives them the right to say incredibly stupid things and get away with it. Welcome to the Hall of Shame, peopled largely by a number of our nit-wit legislators.

The fact that a bunch of them has been spewing out such inconsequential irrationality should not be a surprise. They are, after all, politicians. That is why Sri Lankan political theatre has become welcome grist for the humorist mill. It makes life so much easier for us satire writers and analysts. Meaning their larking around has our work cut out for us. All one has to do is to observe the antics of many elected jokers and report the facts. And while the free media are not wrong in focusing on the shock-value side of these elected officials’ asinine propounding and transgressions, the most relevant question to the public is left hanging in the air: Are these politicians, just too daft to be good at their jobs and govern our nation?

Hardly surprising then that in Sri Lankan politics an absurdity is not a handicap. Of late we have witnessed certain politicians, Cabinet Ministers no less, come up with the most mind-numbing brainless quotes that would make George Bush seem a genius in comparison.

Many of them, of late have taken a firm and permanent step into either being simply stupid or insanely arrogant in proffering their own bizarre suppositions. They are so far out of touch with reality while living in their own wealthy world of profligate privileged perks and power.

For instance there is Joint Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardena who has earned himself the dubious distinction of propounding the most illogical political and economic theories imaginable. Last week he defended the right of lawmakers to receive massive duty exemptions on luxury vehicles as well as the recently introduced Rs 100,000 special allowance despite the national economy being in desperate straits.

In December last year Parliament passed a Resolution to pay all Parliamentarians a monthly allowance of Rs. 100,000 to cover the expenses of maintaining an office and also to increase the allowance of Rs. 500 for attending Parliament sittings up to Rs 2,500. All Parliamentarians are entitled to the increased allowances from January 1, 2017.

MP Gunawardena underscored the point that lawmakers shouldn’t be deprived of their legitimate perks and privileges endorsed by Parliament. The UPFA MP was responding to a query at a media briefing on whether lawmakers representing various political parties weren’t embarrassed to benefit from duty free exemptions ranging from Rs 30 to 44 million to procure luxury vehicles and obtaining special allowances in addition to pay and a range of other payments at a time the country was heading towards a financial crunch. MP Gunawardena maintained that he wasn’t ashamed. And more to this effect, his answer was uttered in the heated language of righteous indignation that he would gladly accept even higher perks and allowances. He asserted that the crisis in the national economy couldn’t be addressed by lawmakers depriving themselves of what they were entitled to. One of the nation’s most respected and outspoken economists Dr. W. A. Wijewardena strongly disagrees, contending that tangible measures were urgently needed to restrict taxpayers’ money being spent on members of Parliament. Dr. Wijewardena, a former Deputy Central Bank Governor, responding to Bandula Gunawardena’s declaration that lawmakers couldn’t be deprived of perks and privileges in spite of the prevailing economic crisis claimed that a recent study by him had revealed that the cost of maintaining a cabinet minister amounted to Rs 8.5 million a month.

Dr. Wijewardena has been highlighting such deficiencies for quite some time and has been playing the apolitical ‘Lone Ranger’ with admirable efficiency and forthrightness. No one in his right mind could ever doubt his integrity or professionalism as an economic whiz with no political attachments. The nation owes a personage of his outstanding calibre a huge debt of gratitude.

In fact, our politicians over the last four decades or so have disagreed on most everything. Everything that is, except when it comes to ladling out the biggest share of the nation’s wealth to themselves. At that crucial juncture they all agree to vote in accord to give themselves too much of everything.

Let’s be honest about the whole issue. Over the last few years our ‘slobby’ legislative and ministerial enclaves have become nothing short of obscene. And just imagine their perks! The staff, the bodyguards, the luxury cars, the first-class flights, the food, the office refurbishments and the five-star hotel stays. Yes, it amounts to all status, no substance and at a cost of billions of bucks.

For sheer exclusivity nothing beats the elite ‘Diyawanna Oya Club’ comprising the nation’s politicians, whose perquisites and standard of living have become as breathtakingly opulent and straight out of the ‘Arabian Nights’. They live, entertain, feast, travel, are provided protection and indulge themselves like superstars at the expense of the people. And all this has emerged amid disclosures of corruption all around them, intensifying the evidence of economic pillage and the improper use of government funds for personal political purposes. Much of the economic damage may be too deep to reverse. But then, the politicians and certain bureaucrats themselves too are largely to blame because they have never been any good at moderation.

Everything at this point calls for harsh budgetary measures in an effort to bridge the colossal Budget deficit, generate more revenue, decrease expenditure and to honour both staggering domestic and foreign borrowings.

What is unacceptable is that every successive government has been spoiling its politicians and bureaucratic flatterers rotten in budget-slashing times where ordinary citizens are being entreated to exercise austerity which now appears to border on bare hand-to-mouth existence. Take for instance, the dishonesty, the neglect, the incompetence and the sinful waste which have become the norm in most every utility, state-owned enterprise and the bureaucracy.

Utilities charges today have become outrageously unaffordable. Take into consideration the reality that the consumers of this nation are already paying among the highest electricity and water tariffs in the world. In a nation where poverty and inequality remain disappointingly widespread, perhaps nothing is more destructive of public trust in a democracy than belief that nepotism and corruption are flourishing as never before. The last few years will go down in the annals of our nation’s history as the era that witnessed the largest number of political mouthings of abject inanity. The assertion is reinforced by the statements of certain high-ranking Cabinet legislators such as the same Bandula Gunawardena when he was minister of education. He actually theorized that a family of three could live a comfortable life with an income of Rs.7,500 per month if they used their money wisely.

Clearly, a seventh grade student with a knowledge of basic economics would have been able to rebut the Minister’s nonsensical theory with a single X flourish of his pen. And the more perceptive among them would question as to how he could function as the minister of learning when he has a heck of lot of learning to do himself.

But on the other hand, allowing loose cannons to fire such unintelligent salvos indiscriminately may sound as if this is their party’s general view? Party whips must start a crackdown on allowing these small minds to wander. Indeed, they are far too small to be let out on their own.

Besides being an embarrassment to their party and a mill-stone around the nation’s neck, they are ill-equipped to make intelligent statements. They are positively expendable. They are a monumental reminder to everyone that there is no surer way of leading a party to electoral extinction than having them on board.

But as with our Parliament, every time they make a joke, it becomes a law! And every time they make a law, it becomes a joke! Elected jokes are a very serious matter, legislatively speaking that is.

Government has very little support left in the private sector

Today the General feeling within the private sector is that the Ranil - Sirisena government is doing very poorly, that there is indecision and the President and Prime Minister cannot agree on most things. The news papers also Highlights this over and over again in their editorials. The Hiru and Sirasa News only focus on the negative news. The protest in the Colombo city continue on a daily basis, without any action. At every business forum the ineffectiveness of the government is highlighted.

Not a single person appointed by the government other than Ministers Ravi Karunanayake, Dr Rajitha Senarathne and occasionally Malik Samarawickrama and the Prime Minister defend the government. The private sector has happily forgotten the way Rajapaksa's ruled the country and a lot of good things have happened post jan 8th, like the 19 th ammendment. No body dared to talk then and the fake stories spread by Dr P.B Jayasundara and Nivard Cabral were cheered on by the Private Sector elite led by Susantha Rathnayake, Delith Jayaweera, Mano Selvanathan, K Wegapitiya, Dhammika  Perera , Thilak De Zoysa,, Nimal Perera, SanTh Ukwatte, Sumal Perera and Ashok Pathirage. These people defended the Rajapakse's publicly and at every forum. That is why the government held on for 10 years, until Mahinda Rajapakse got greedy and decided to go for the third term.

Ironically the UNP has no one other than a handful who have been effectively sidelined by the fly by night new heroes to defend the government at any forum. Where is Charitha Ratwatte, Paskaralingem, Saman Ekanayake, Dr Coomarasawmy  and Mangala Yapa? They do nothing while the government walks from one crisis to another any get lambasted. Why are they silent? They are only there to look after their interests. The Rajapakse's were smart, they appointed people who were loyal to them and the party. They would do anything to protect the Rajapaksa government.

The government now according to experts has no control over the financial sector as a result of bad appointments,  the Rupee continues slide( 2015- 132, 2017- 152) and interest rates keeps moving up( 8% to 14%), simply because the Governor has no interests in protecting the government other than himself, the HNB Chairman Rienzi Arseculrathne , Seylan Bank Chairman Ravi Dias, Commercial Bank Chairman Deerathne, NSB Chairman  and People's Bank Chairman Fernando did nothing for the government and they have no love for the government. They are there only for their survival and what they can take out.

Many of the key appointments made by this government has been short sighted and done at the whims of people like Ratwatte and Samarawickrama. If the government hopes to run for four years, changes have to be made now. The government is about to crash land for want of leadership at certain key institutions. (LankaNewsWeb)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tycoon gets sweetheart deal for mega tyre city in Horana

The Government, through the Ministry of Development Strategies, is drawing up a sweetheart deal for controversial Sri Lankan businessman Nandana Lokuwithana to build a tyre factory in Horana.
Among other things, it will grant him a 99-year lease on 100 acres of land for an annual rent of just 100 rupees an acre.
For his promised investment of US$75 million (Rs. 11.2 billion), Mr. Lokuwithana’s company is expected to receive an income tax holiday of 12 years after which a preferential rate of 15 percent will be levied, authoritative sources said. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) has also sanctioned a massive discount on the lease premium owed to the Wagawatte property and is now pushing through other concessions.
While the foundation stone for the Rigid Tyre Corporation (Pvt) Ltd. plant was laid on January 5, the final agreements are yet to be signed, these Cabinet sources said. Since October last year, the Development Strategies Ministry has been mooting a series of generous incentives for Mr. Lokuwithana, including a provision to lease out the sprawling property in Wagawatte at rates calculated by the Government’s Valuation Department.
As such, he will only deposit around Rs 71 million upfront as a lease premium (a one-time payment) on the land and a nominal rent of Rs 10,000 per year or Rs 100 an acre annually. The property is part of the Board of Investment’s (BOI) Wagawatte Industrial Zone (WIZ). The Development Strategies Ministry has secured CCEM permission to have it leased out to Rigid Tyre Corporation for 99 years despite the BOi’s board permitting only 50-year leases.
The BOI charges a premium of US$ 40,000 (Rs, 6 million) anacre for a 50-year lease of WIZ land, papers presented to the Cabinet reveal. Mr. Lokuwithana should, therefore, make a down payment of US$ 4 million or Rs. 600 million for his allotted 100 acres. But he will effectively receive a discount of more than 70 percent on the minimum lease premium when calculated on the basis of a 50-year lease. The loss to the BOI is greater if tabulated on the premise of a 99-year lease.
The papers also state that the annual ground rent for an acre of WIZ land is US$ 3,850 (around Rs. 578,000) an acre. At Rs. 100, the CCEM has approved a discount of 99.98 percent on each acre for Mr. Lokuwithana. Both incentives were granted at the request of the investor, the Cabinet sources said.
The BOI typically advertises available lands. When this was recently done for the Seethawaka Industrial Zone — where the lease premium is gazetted at US$ 60,000 an acre and the annual rent is US$ 4,325 an acre — the agency attracted an offer of US$110,000 as premium and US$ 5,200 as annual rent for an acre. That has now been accepted.
And while the BOI’s powers to grant tax concessions were suspended in April 2016, the Development Strategies Ministry has arranged for waivers on the grounds that the application to manufacture tyres was lodged the previous month, in March. The company will also import project-related capital and construction items free of Customs duty during the four-year implementation period.
Rigid Tyre Corporation proposes to set up an integrated tyre manufacturing facility in Horana and create 3,000 jobs, a statement from the company said. Cabinet sources said the company would export 60 percent of its products and release 40 percent locally. They also pointed out that the BOI usually allowed 10 percent into the domestic market, going up to 20 percent under exceptional circumstances.
The company will use technology from Marangoni of Italy under a partnership agreement signed in September. The 100-acre land will be a “megacity for the tyre industry” with divisions for value addition of rubber, promotional literature states. There will be no joint venture company and the full financial contribution will be from Mr. Lokuwithana, who bought the Ceylon Steel Corporation and is reported to have business interests in Dubai.
It is understood that the BOI’s board of directors had been against granting so many exceptions to a single investor, particularly as it would set a precedent. They were also concerned about giving up 100 of the 150 acres the BOI has in the area to Mr. Lokuwithana, leaving a mere 50 acres to promote among other investors. These objections were ignored.
Mr. Lokuwithana also wants to use part of his 100-acre plot to build houses for employees. This, too, contravenes the prevailing policies of the BOI as no investor is permitted to accommodate staff on land granted by the investment promotion agency. However, moves are now afoot to delist the relevant section of the property — thus placing it outside BOI purview — to facilitate Mr. Lokuwithana’s request. Further incentives are under consideration.
One reason for the delay in signing the final agreement is because 50 out of the 100 acres are still leased out to another company that has requested an alternative property due to issues it is facing on the land.
Mr. Lokuwithana — who owns several businesses in the Middle East — is identified as a holder of offshore accounts in the “Panama Papers” released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. He has often publicly expressed pride at having risen to the heights of affluence from “a modest background from the hinterlands of Medawachchiya”.
He was widely identified as being a Rajapaksa loyalist and conduit, a claim he has not denied. Last year, President Maithripala Sirisena unveiled a life size statue of Goddess Pattini at the Nawagamuwa Purana Sri Maha Paththini Devalaya which was renovated with funding from Mr. Lokuwithana.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Turmeric the new Wonder Food!

It's important to know that the vast majority of studies on turmeric have not examined the spice itself, but rather one of its constituents called curcumin. When you hear about the benefits of turmeric on a website or on a health news report on television, you are mostly likely hearing about the benefits of curcumin. This aspect of the health research can be very confusing!

On the one hand, curcumin is a polyphenol in turmeric with a quite remarkable set of potential health benefits. These potential benefits include better regulation of inflammation, oxidation, cell signaling, blood sugar levels, blood fat levels, and brain levels of the omega-3 fatty acid called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), among its many benefits. But at the same time, there are many other health-supportive substances in turmeric, and the amount of curcumin in turmeric root can be fairly small. The actual amount of curcumin in turmeric varies from species to species, growing conditions, and timing of growth and harvest. But it typically accounts for only 2-5% of the root weight and can drop even lower under some conditions. In short, we are delighted to see great studies on the health benefits of curcumin, yet since we are most interested in the spice itself (turmeric) and the potential benefits of this spice in recipes, we also realize that some of the research on curcumin doesn't easily translate into these more practical kitchen and recipe applications. In the remainder of this Health Benefits section, we want to tell you about practical health benefits of turmeric in cooking based on our confidence in research about the spice itself.

Overall Decreased Cancer Risk

The vast majority of studies on turmeric and cancer risk have been conducted on rats and mice. In addition, the research interventions have involved curcumin rather than turmeric. Normally, we would not try to draw any conclusions about food and your health from animal studies on isolated food constituents! But in this case, we feel justified in making an exception due to the large number of animal studies, the consistency of the findings, and the diverse number of mechanisms that allow curcumin to lower cancer risk in rats and mice. These mechanisms include: antioxidant mechanisms, anti-inflammatory mechanisms, immuno-regulatory mechanisms, enzyme-related mechanisms, cell signaling mechanisms, and cell cycle mechanisms. As you can surmise, we're talking about a remarkable range of potential anti-cancer impacts with respect to curcumin intake.
In addition, animal studies on curcumin have looked at a wide variety of cancer forms, including cancer of the prostate, pancreas, lung, colon, cervix, breast, mouth, tongue, and stomach. At WHFoods, our research presentation policy is to avoid extrapolating from animal studies to human diets. We like to see large-scale studies on humans eating everyday foods before we post information on our website about the health benefits of particular foods. However, in this case we would like to make an exception. Even though we do not have large-scale studies on humans consuming turmeric, the repeatedly positive findings in these animal studies on curcumin convince us that you can lower your overall cancer risk through regular consumption of turmeric.
Of special interest in the cancer research on curcumin has been its well-documented role in detoxification. In animal studies, curcurmin has consistently been shown to stimulate Phase II detox activity. This phase of detoxification allows our cells to bind potential toxins together with other molecules so that they can be excreted from the body. As more and more potentially toxic substances get bound together with other molecules during Phase II processing, our risk of cancer development decreases. Research interest in curcumin and turmeric also extends into other components of detoxification, and we look forward to future studies that will help to clarify the unique role of this spice in cellular detoxification.
It's been especially interesting to follow research on curcumin and cancers of the digestive tract. This component of turmeric has a relatively low level of absorption from the digestive tract. Less absorption might logically sound like an unwanted event that would provide fewer health benefits. However, less absorption from the gut up into the body might also mean more curcumin remaining inside the digestive tract, allowing it to provide health benefits in that location. Studies have shown that curcumin is relatively stable at stomach pH (the unit of measurement for acidity) and this stability means that curcumin might be able to pass through the stomach and onward through our intestines intact. Several animal studies actually show this result to occur, and they also show curcumin's ability to influence cell signaling in our intestines. In animal studies, this influence on cell signaling in the lower digestive tract has been linked to improvement in inflammatory conditions like colitis. This same set of events is under active study with respect to other chronic bowel problems as well as colorectal cancer.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Inclusion of turmeric as a spice in a recipe can help regulate blood fat levels after a meal. Studies show that the activity of certain enzymes (including pancreatic lipase and phospholipase A2) can be inhibited by incorporation of turmeric into recipes, with a result of lower blood triglycerides following meal intake. In the studies that we have reviewed, turmeric was not used by itself, but together with other spices including ginger, garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, and clove. One particular interesting result in one study was the role of stress in altering turmeric benefits. In this study, lowered levels of blood triglycerides were only seen when study participants stayed relaxed following their turmeric-containing meals. However, if the participants became engaged in stressful activities after their meals, blood triglyceride levels were not reduced by the turmeric-containing meals.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of curcumin have been associated with improved regulation of blood pressure and decreased risk of several types of cardiovascular disease in animals. There are also cholesterol-lowering studies in animals given supplemental curcumin, but the amounts of curcumin required to see results in these studies raise questions for us about the applicability of these studies to turmeric as a spice in recipes. That's because 500 milligrams of curcumin is a representative dose in these cholesterol studies as a whole, and that amount would require the intake of about 7 teaspoons of turmeric per day if the plant root used to produce the powdered and dried spice contained 5% curcumin by weight.

Other Benefits

In animal studies, increased interest has been shown in the potential for turmeric to improve chronic digestive health problems including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Most of the proposed mechanisms of actions in these studies involve changes in cell signaling and decreased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Rheumatoid and other types of arthritis have also been active areas of animal study on curcumin. Once again, most of the science interest here has been in decreased production of pro-inflammatory messaging molecules.
Improved cognitive function has also been an area of increased research interest. Here one fascinating focus has been on the ability of curcumin to stimulate production of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) from ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). Both ALA and DHA are omega-3 fatty acids with a wide range of proven health benefits, but DHA has been shown to be especially important in nervous system function both in the brain and throughout the body. (There is more DHA in the brain than any other single type of fatty acid, and when DHA circulates around our body, the brain receives a higher percentage of this fatty acid than any other single organ.)
A fairly large number of foods contain small to moderate amounts of ALA. However, it is more difficult to get significant amounts of pre-formed DHA from food. (The best sources of pre-formed DHA on our website are fish, especially salmon and sardines.) Fortunately, under the right circumstances, our bodies can make DHA from ALA using enzymes called desaturases and elongases. It's precisely these enzymes that curcumin can stimulate in their activity, increasing the likelihood of more DHA production—and along with it, improved brain function in areas especially reliant on DHA. Given this set of events, it has not been surprising to see more animal studies focusing on the ability of curcumin and turmeric to potentially improve chronic neurodegenerative problems including Alzheimer's disease.
Finally, as mentioned in our What's New and Beneficial section, use of turmeric as a recipe spice has been shown to lower loss of beta-carotene in certain cooked foods. The best study that we have seen in this area involved the use of turmeric in the cooking of carrots and pumpkin. Also studied were amaranth and the leaves of a vegetable commonly called drumstick (Moringa oleifera). It was the antioxidant properties of numerous compounds in turmeric that researchers pointed to as the mostly likely cause of better beta-carotene preservation.
Before leaving this Health Benefits section, it is worth noting that recent studies show the breakdown products of curcumin to be as potentially helpful as curcumin itself. These breakdown products include vanillin and ferulic acid—two well-studied antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. The role of curcumin breakdown products puts even further emphasis on the unique potential for turmeric health benefits inside the digestive tract where this breakdown process would initially occur.


The dried powdered spice that many people use in recipes comes from the root (rhizome) portion of the plant Curcuma longa. The unprocessed form of this root bears a strong resemblance to ginger root, and that resemblance is not a coincidence! Turmeric, ginger, and cardamom are plants all belonging to the Zingiberaceae family—also known as the ginger family. You'll sometimes hear turmeric being referred to as Indian saffron since its deep yellow-orange color is similar to that of saffron. You'll also sometimes hear it being referred to as curcuma, after it's best-studied polyphenolic component, namely, curcumin. Turmeric has been used throughout history as a culinary spice, herbal medicine, and fabric dye.
Turmeric root has a very interesting taste and aroma. Its flavor is peppery, warm, and bitter while its fragrance is mild yet slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger.
Consumers in the U.S. are mostly familiar with the dried, powdered form of turmeric and its unique and unforgettable color. When purchased in fresh root form, however, turmeric looks quite similar to ginger root, even though when cut open, its flesh is vibrant orange and dramatically different from the color of cut ginger root.


Turmeric is native to India and Southeast Asia, where it has been popular in cuisines for several thousand years. In addition to its culinary use, turmeric has remained a mainstay herb in botanical medicine, with medical usage going back thousands of years in the Ayurvedic tradition. In the U.S., turmeric is a substance that is included on the GRAS List (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration where it is considered as a natural food coloring agent.
On a worldwide basis, about 800,000 tons of turmeric are produced each year, with over 75% of this total amount coming from India, which is also the world's largest consumer and exporter of turmeric; in terms of exports, over 50% of all global exports come from this country. After India, the greatest turmeric production currently occurs in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China, Myanmar, and Indonesia. Turmeric is also grown commercially in many Central and South American countries.

How to Select and Store

Even through dried herbs and spices are widely available in supermarkets, explore the local spice stores or ethnic markets in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness than those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried spices, try to select organically grown turmeric since this will give you more assurance that the dried, powdered herb has not been irradiated. Since the color of turmeric varies among varieties, it is not a strict criterion for quality.
We would also note that fresh turmeric root is also becoming more widely available to consumers. You'll usually find this form of turmeric in the produce section, sometimes near the ginger root. Many people report enjoying this form of turmeric in soups, salads, and dressings or marinades. If you bring this form of turmeric home from the grocery, it should be stored in the refrigerator.
Be sure not to confuse turmeric with curry. "Curry" is a very generalized name for spice combinations that typically contain turmeric alongside of numerous other spices. For example, a dried powdered curry powder may often contain turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and clove, along with other spices like nutmeg or fenugreek.
Dried turmeric powder should kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place. And as mentioned earlier, fresh turmeric rhizome (root) should be kept in the refrigerator.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

Tips for Preparing Turmeric
Be careful when using turmeric since its deep color can easily stain. To avoid a lasting stain, quickly wash any area with which it has made contact with soap and water. To prevent staining your hands, you might consider wearing kitchen gloves while handling turmeric.
If you are able to find turmeric rhizomes in the grocery store, you can make your own fresh turmeric powder by boiling, drying and then grinding it into a fine consistency.

How to Enjoy

A Few Quick Serving Ideas
  • Add turmeric to egg salad to give it an even bolder yellow color.
  • Mix brown rice with raisins and cashews and season with turmeric, cumin and coriander.
  • Although turmeric is generally a staple ingredient in curry powder, some people like to add a little extra of this spice when preparing curries. And turmeric doesn't have to only be used in curries. This spice is delicious on healthy sautéed apples, and healthy steamed cauliflower and/or green beans and onions. Or, for a creamy, flavor-rich, low-calorie dip, try mixing some turmeric and dried onion with a little omega-3-rich mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Serve with raw cauliflower, celery, sweet pepper, jicama and broccoli florets.
  • Turmeric is a great spice to complement recipes that feature lentils.
  • Give salad dressings an orange-yellow hue by adding some turmeric powder to them.
  • For an especially delicious way to add more turmeric to your healthy way of eating, cut cauliflower florets in half and healthy sauté with a generous spoonful of turmeric for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Nutritional Profile

Turmeric is an excellent source of both iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, copper, and potassium. Phytonutrients in turmeric include curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, tumerones, and tumenorols.

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling."

Read more @ Values of Turmeric

ජනපති ඇතුළු ඇමතිවරුන් දොළහකගේ බලයට අත තැබූ රනිල්ගේ සුපිරි පනත

ලසන්ත රුහුණගේ - From Ravaya

සුපිරි පනත යයි ව්‍යවහාර කරමින් පවතින අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ විසින් ඉදිරිපත් කර ඇති සංවර්ධන (විශේෂ විධිවිධාන) පනත් කෙටුම්පතට යහපාලන ආණ්ඩුවේ ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂ මැති ඇමතිවරුන්ගේ ප්‍රබල විරෝධයක් මේ වනවිට එල්ල වී තිබේ. එම විරෝධයට හේතු වශයෙන් ඔවුන් කියන්නේ අදාළ පනත තුළින් සුපිරි ඇමතිවරයෙකු බිහිවන බවත්, පසුගිය රාජපක්ෂ පාලන සමයේදී බැසිල් රාජපක්ෂ සඳහා ආර්ථික සංවර්ධන යනුවෙන් නම්කර එවැනි සුපිරි ඇමති ධුරයක් නිර්මාණය කරන ලද බවත් එම ආණ්ඩුව පරාදවීම සඳහා එයද බලපෑ බවත්ය.

ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂ මැති ඇමතිවරුන් පමණක් නොව, ඒකාබද්ධ විපක්ෂය නියෝජනය කරන ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂ හා සෙසු පක්ෂවල මන්ත්‍රීවරුන්ගේද ප්‍රබල විරෝධයක් මෙම පනතට එල්ල වී ඇති අතර ඔවුන්ගේ තර්කයද මේ මගින් සුපිරි බලතල සහිත සුපිරි ඇමතිවරයෙකු නිර්මාණය කර ඇති බවයි.

මේ විරෝධයන්ගෙන් මතුකර දක්වන කරුණු සත්‍යද අසත්‍යද? එය විමසා බැලීම සඳහා අදාළ පනත් කෙටුම්පතේ ඇති කරුණු පිළිබඳව අවධානය යොමු කිරීම වටී.

මේ වූකලි 2016 නොවැම්බර් 23 දින අග්‍රාමාත්‍යවරයාගේ නියමය පරිදි රජයේ ගැසට් පත්‍රයේ පළකරන ලද සංවර්ධන (විශේෂ විධිවිධාන) පනත් කෙටුම්පතය. එය ඉදිරිපත් කර ඇත්තේ ‘ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ කඩිනම් ආර්ථික සංවර්ධනයද ඇතුළුව සියලු විෂය පිළිබඳ ජාතික ප්‍රතිපත්තියක් සකස් කිරීමට පහසුකම් සැලැස්වීම සඳහාද ඊට සම්බන්ධ හෝ ඊට අනුෂාංගික කාරණා සඳහා ද විධිවිධාන සැලැස්වීම පිණිස’ය.

පනත් කෙටුම්පතට අනුව එහි අමාත්‍යවරයා වශයෙන් සඳහන් වන්නේ ජාතික ප්‍රතිපත්ති හා ආර්ථික කටයුතු අමාත්‍යවරයා හෙවත් අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහය. ඔහුට සහායවීම සඳහා ප්‍රතිපත්ති සංවර්ධන කාර්යාලයක් පිහිටුවිය යුතු අතර එම කාර්යාලය ප්‍රතිපත්ති සංවර්ධනය, ප්‍රතිපත්ති සමාලෝචනය හා සම්පත් බෙදාහැරීම පිළිබඳ වාර්තා සකස් කර ලබාදිය යුතුය. ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ආර්ථික සංවර්ධනය පිළිබඳ ජාතික ප්‍රතිපත්තියට ජාතික ආර්ථික සංවර්ධනයට අදාළ ආණ්ඩුවේ සෑම සැලසුමක්ම, වැඩසටහනක්ම සහ යෝජනා ක්‍රමයක්ම අනුකූල විය යුතු අතර ප්‍රතිපත්ති සංවර්ධන කාර්යාලයේ නිලධාරියකු විසින් ඉල්ලා සිටින තොරතුරු නීතියෙන් තහනම් නොවන්නේ නම් ලබාදිය යුතුය.

නිෂ්පාදන කටයුතු, සංචාරක කර්මාන්තය, විද්‍යා හා තාක්ෂණ, සම්පාදන, ව්‍යාපාර හා සේවා, උසස් තාක්ෂණ ධීවර කර්මාන්තය සහ උසස් තාක්ෂණ කෘෂිකර්ම යනුවෙන් හඳුනාගත් ක්ෂේත්‍රවල ආර්ථික සංවර්ධන ප්‍රදේශ එකක් හෝ කිහිපයක් යම් පළාතක නම් කරනු ලැබිය හැකිය. එසේ නම් කරනු ලබන උසස් තාක්ෂණ කෘෂිකර්ම සංවර්ධන කලාපයක ඉඩම් වෙනත් කටයුතු සඳහා භාවිත කිරීම සීමා කරනු ලැබේ.

පනතේ II කොටස අනුව සංවර්ධන නියෝජිත ආයතනය යනුවෙන් හඳුන්වන නියෝජිතායතනයක්ද පිහිටුවනු ලබන අතර එය ඉහතින් සඳහන් කරන ලද ආර්ථික සංවර්ධන ප්‍රදේශ සම්බන්ධයෙන් බලතල ක්‍රියාත්මක කිරීම සඳහා පිහිටුවා ඇත. අදාළ ආයෝජන කලාපයේ ආයෝජනයන් කිරීමට අපේක්ෂාවෙන් සිටින ආයෝජකයන් ලියාපදිංචිය මෙම නියෝජිතායතනයට පැවරේ. ඒ අනුව එම නියෝජිත ආයතනය ලබාදෙන විධානවලට යටත්ව, 1978 අංක 4 පනතින් පිහිටවූ ආයෝජන මණ්ඩලයද, 1979 අංක 40 පනතින් පිහිටුවූ ශ්‍රී ලංකා අපනයන සංවර්ධන මණ්ඩලයද, 2007 අංක 27 දරන පනතින් පිහිටවූ තොරතුරු හා සන්නිවේදන තාක්ෂණ නියෝජිතායතනයද කටයුතු කළ යුතුය. තවදුරටත් 2002 අංක 34 පනත යටතේ පිහිටුවූ සිවිල් ගුවන් සේවා අධිකාරිය, 1979 අංක 51 දරන පනතින් පිහිටුවූ ශ්‍රී ලංකා වරාය අධිකාරියද, 1974 අංක 2 දරන පනතින් පිහිටුවූ ජාතික ජල සැපයුම් හා ජලාපවහන මණ්ඩලයද, 2008 අංක 38 දරන පනතින් පිහිටුවූ ශ්‍රී ලංකා සංචාරක ප්‍රවර්ධන කාර්යාංශයද එම විධානයන්ට යටත්ව කටයුතු කළ යුතුය.

අවශ්‍ය අවස්ථාවලදී පළාත් පාලන ආයතන සහ ආයෝජන මණ්ඩලය හෝ ශ්‍රී ලංකා සංචාරක සංවර්ධන අධිකාරිය අතර සම්බන්ධීකරණයට නියෝජිතායතනයට බලය තිබෙන අතර වෙනත් අමාත්‍යවරයකු වෙත පවරා ඇති යම් විෂයකට අදාළ යම් කරුණක් සම්බන්ධයෙන් අදාළ විෂයභාර අමාත්‍යවරයා විමසා අමාත්‍යවරයාට (අග්‍රාමාත්‍යවරයාට) විධාන නිකුත් කළ හැකිය.

තවද 2014 අංක 38 දරන ඉඩම් (සන්තකය පැවරීම පිළිබඳ සීමා කිරීමේ) පනතේ විධිවිධානද ආයෝජකයන් සඳහා අදාළවීම ඉවත් කර ඇත. එමෙන්ම 1956 අංක 40 දරන ජාතික සැලසුම් සභා පනතද මෙම පනතින් ඉවත් කර ඇත.

ඉහත නියෝජිතායතනයේ කටයුතු කළමනාකරණය හා පරිපාලනය සම්බන්ධයෙන් පොදු කටයුතු සභාවක් ඇති කරනු ලබන අතර එහි මුලසුන සංවර්ධන ක්‍රමෝපාය විෂයභාර අමාත්‍යවරයා (මලික් සමරවික්‍රම) විසින් දරනු ඇත.

පනතේ III කොටසින් ග්‍රාමීය නවීකරණය පිළිබඳ මණ්ඩලයක් පිහිටුවනු ලබන අතර ජනාධිපතිවරයා, අග්‍රාමාත්‍යවරයා, මූල්‍ය, ග්‍රාමීය ආර්ථික, ඉඩම්, සංවර්ධන ක්‍රමෝපාය සහ ජාත්‍යන්තර වෙළෙඳාම, කර්මාන්ත, කෘෂිකර්ම, ධීවර, වැවිලි කර්මාන්ත සහ සත්ත්ව පාලන විෂයභාර අමාත්‍යවරුද, සියලු පළාත්වල ප්‍රධාන අමාත්‍යවරුද දේශපාලන නියෝජිතයන් වශයෙන් එහි නියෝජනය වෙති.

ඊටත් අමතරව කලාප සංවර්ධන මණ්ඩල යනුවෙන් තවත් ව්‍යුහයක් පිහිටවනු ලබන අතර රජයේ සහ පළාත් පරිපාලනයේ සංවර්ධන සැලසුම්, වැඩසටහන් සහ ව්‍යාපෘති ක්‍රියාත්මකවීම කලාපීය මට්ටමින් සම්බන්ධීකරණය කිරීම සහ එහි සැලසුම්, වැඩසටහන් හා ව්‍යාපෘති අධීක්ෂණය කිරීමත්, නියෝජිත ආයතනයේ තීරණ හා එය විසින් නිකුත් කරනු ලබන මාර්ගෝපදේශ ප්‍රකාරව පෞද්ගලික අංශයේ ආයෝජන ව්‍යාපෘති ක්‍රියාත්මක කිරීම සඳහා අවශ්‍ය අවස්ථාවලදී පහසුකම් සැපයීම එහි අරමුණ වේ.

ඒ අනුව ගාල්ල, මාතර, හම්බන්තොට, මොනරාගල හා රත්නපුර දිස්ත්‍රික්කවලින් සමන්විත දක්ෂිණ සංවර්ධන මණ්ඩලයක්ද, පුත්තලම, කුරුණෑගල හා කෑගල්ල දිස්ත්‍රික්කවලින් සමන්විත වයඹ සංවර්ධන මණ්ඩලයක්ද, මාතලේ, නුවර, නුවරඑළිය හා බදුල්ල දිස්ත්‍රික්කවලින් සමන්විත මධ්‍යම සංවර්ධන මණ්ඩලයක්ද, අනුරාධපුර, පොළොන්නරුව, ත්‍රිකුණාමලය, මඩකළපුව හා අම්පාර දිස්ත්‍රික්කවලින් සමන්විත නැගෙනහිර සංවර්ධන මණ්ඩලයක්ද, යාපනය, කිළිනොච්චිය, මන්නාරම, වව්නියාව හා මුලතිව් දිස්ත්‍රික්කවලින් සමන්විත උතුරු සංවර්ධන මණ්ඩලයක් ද පිහිටවනු ලැබේ.

ඊටත් අමතරව පනතේ VI කොටස මගින් ජාත්‍යන්තර වෙළෙඳාම සඳහා වන නියෝජිතායතනයක් පිහිටුවනු ලබන අතර එහි පාලනයට මණ්ඩලයක් පත් කරනු ලැබේ. විශේෂත්වය වන්නේ එම මණ්ඩලයට දේශපාලන නියෝජිතයන් කිසිවකු (මැති ඇමතිවරුන්) ඇතුළත් නොවීමය. එම මණ්ඩලයටද විධාන නිකුත් කිරීමේ බලය හිමි අතර ශ්‍රී ලංකා අපනයන සංවර්ධන මණ්ඩලයට, වාණිජ කටයුතු දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවට, ආනයන හා අපනයන පාලන දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවට, ශ්‍රී ලංකා තේ මණ්ඩලයට සහ ගැසට් මගින් ප්‍රකාශයට පත් කරනු ලබන ජාත්‍යන්තර වෙළෙඳාමට අදාළ කටයුතු ඉටු කරන ඕනෑම ආයතනයකට විධාන නිකුත් කළ හැකිය.

ඊටත් අමතරව නාගරික සංවර්ධන අධිකාරියද, ශ්‍රී ලංකා මහවැලි අධිකාරියද මෙම පනත යටතේ අනුමත කරන ලද යෝජනා ක්‍රමවලට එරෙහිව සිය බලතල ක්‍රියාත්මක නොකළ යුතුය.

තවද පනත යටතේ පිහිටුවන ලද නියෝජිතායතනයක්, මණ්ඩලයක් හෝ වෙනත් ආයතනයක් සිදුකරන හෝ සිදුකිරීමට නියමිත සද්භාවයෙන් යුතු ක්‍රියාවක් වෙනුවෙන් සිවිල් හෝ අපරාධ නඩු පැවරීමක් සිදු නොකළ යුතු අතර එම නියෝජිතායතන මණ්ඩල හෝ වෙනත් ආයතනවල සාමාජිකයෙකු නිලධාරියෙකු සේවකයෙකු හෝ අනුනියෝජිතයෙකු සද්භාවයෙන් සිදුකරනු ලබන ක්‍රියාවකට එරෙහිවද නඩු පැවරීමක් නොකළ යුතුය.

පනත් කෙටුම්පතේ ඇති ඉහත සඳහන් කරුණු කාරණා දෙස බැලූ විට සුපිරි පනත යනුවෙන් හඳුන්වන සංවර්ධන (විශේෂ විධිවිධාන පනත) විශේෂ සාකච්ඡාවකට ලක් කළ යුතු පනතක් බවට විවාදයක් නැත. එයට හේතුව දැනට පවතින අමාත්‍යාංශ කිහිපයකට අයත් ආයතනවල බලතල මෙම පනත යටතට ගෙන ඇති නිසාය. එහෙත් පුදුමය වන්නේ මෙම පනත් කෙටුම්පත ගැසට් මගින් ප්‍රකාශයට පත්කිරීමට පෙර දැන් ඒ සඳහා විරෝධය දක්වන ආණ්ඩුවේ ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂ අමාත්‍යවරුන් කැබිනට් මණ්ඩලයේදී ඊට විරෝධය දක්වා නොතිබීමය. පළාත් සභා සඳහා මෙම පනත් කෙටුම්පත යොමුකිරීමෙන් පසු දෙසැම්බර් 22 දින ප්‍රකාශයට පත්වූයේ ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂයට බලය හිමි පළාත් සභා හතද ඊට එරෙහි වන බවයි. පනත් කෙටුම්පත සම්බන්ධයෙන් සිය මතය ඉදිරිපත් කිරීමට ඉතිරිව ඇත්තේ උතුර හා නැගෙනහිර පළාත් සභාව පමණය. පනත් කෙටුම්පතේ ඇති විධිවිධාන අනුව ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේනගේ මහවැලි සංවර්ධන අමාත්‍යාංශය යටතේ ඇති මහවැලි අධිකාරියේ සිට අමාත්‍යවරුන් වන ජෝන් අමරතුංග, නිමල් සිරිපාල ද සිල්වා, රවුෆ් හකීම්, රිෂාඞ් බදුර්දීන්, නවීන් දිසානායක, අර්ජුන රණතුංග, හරීන් ප්‍රනාන්දු, මලික් සමරවික්‍රම, සුසිල් ප්‍රේම්ජයන්ත, මහින්ද අමරවීර හා දුමින්ද දිසානායක යන අමාත්‍යවරුන්ගේ විෂය ක්ෂේත්‍රවලට පනත් කෙටුම්පතෙන් අත තබා ඇත. බැලූ බැල්මට පනත් කෙටුම්පත තුළ ඇති වෙනත් අමාත්‍යාංශ සතු කටයුතුවලට අමතරව ඉදිරියේදී පනත යටතේ ගැසට් මගින් ප්‍රකාශයට පත්කිරීම මගින් තවත් අමාත්‍යාංශ සතු බලතලවලටද අත තැබිය හැකි බව පනත් කෙටුම්පතේ පැහැදිලිව සඳහන් වේ. ඒ පළාත් සභා සතු බලතලවලට අත තැබීමට අමතරවය.

එහෙයින් සංවර්ධන (විශේෂ විධිවිධාන) පනත් කෙටුම්පත සුපිරි පනතක් යන්නට විවාදයක් නැත. රට කඩිනමින් සංවර්ධනය කිරීමට එවැනි පනතක් අවශ්‍යද? ඒ ඇයි? යන්න ආණ්ඩුව තුළ පවා පමණක් නොව ඉන් බාහිරවද සාකච්ඡාවක් ඇතිවිය යුතුය යන්න බැහැර කළ නොහැකිය.■

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rajitha points accusing finger at a clique

By Rathindra Kuruwita - Ceylon Today
Co-Cabinet Spokesperson and Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne in an interview with Ceylon Today discussed the current political developments, plans for the health sector in 2017 and rumours of his appointment as the next prime minister.
?: The Development Special Provisions Draft Bill has been rejected by eight Provincial Councils, and the bill is to be discussed in the Eastern Provincial Council. It should have been obvious that such a bill, which limits the powers of the Provincial Councils, would be rejected. How did the government not see this?
A: We have to admit that we must make Sri Lanka a more investment friendly country because right now it takes so much time for an investor to get things up and running. I have always insisted that we must have a one stop shop for investors. That being said, we must also realize that all stakeholders should have been consulted when drafting an important bill such as this. If it is understood that the bill would be presented to Provincial Councils, the Chief Ministers should have been consulted from the beginning. Now, after realizing that the councils are going to reject the bill, some attempts have been made to consult the Chief Ministers. My question is, "Why was this not done earlier?" If the Chief Ministers were met, they could have come up with a better draft that the councillors could accept. My personal opinion is that this Bill should not be presented to Parliament as it is.
I am also vehemently opposed to the provision that affords the respective minister immunity from any action if performed in good faith in pursuance of their functions. This is ridiculous. At a time when the President is getting rid of provisions which give him immunity, why do we need to create a provision which gives a minister immunity? And how do we determine "good faith"? Does anyone ever say they are not doing something in good faith? All the crooks also say they do things in good faith.
There should have been a debate on the draft Bill, especially with the Chief Ministers of the Provincial Councils, prior to drafting a bill of such importance. Considering everything I am convinced that the Development Special Provisions Draft Bill was penned by someone who does not understand the laws of this country. I am not afraid to call the Attorney-at-Law who drafted this Bill an idiot.
?: There is a belief that the country is now administered by the Prime Minister and a few of his friends. There are constant accusations that most of the unpopular policies of the government are taken by them. Is this also one of those policies?
A: The reason why there is such an accusation is the fact that the Prime Minister defends his friends all the time. He believes that his friends are also honest and are extremely loyal to him. If they are such good friends, they should ensure that their actions boost the reputation of the Prime Minister.
We have to do what we can to enhance the public persona of the President and the Prime Minister, because the success of this endeavour very much depends on the social capital of these two leaders.
But if anyone attempts to use the reputation of the Prime Minister to fulfil their narrow agendas these people are not real friends. One of these friends didn't even have the decency to resign from his post, given to him by the Prime Minister, when there were severe allegations against him. These are the reasons why people assume that all unpopular decisions are taken by a clique and that the Prime Minister is a part of that group.
?: President Mathripala Sirisena has declared that local government elections will be held in mid 2017. Three Provincial Council elections are also to be held. It is likely that the main constituent parties of the government will contest separately. How will that affect the unity of the government?
A: I don't think either party has taken a concrete decision about how to contest. I know that there are many internal discussions within the parties and there have been some inter-party discussions, but I don't think a final decision has been made.
My belief is that we must not lose the current cooperation and unity between the two parties because of the elections in 2017. The Mahinda Rajapaksa faction wants the two parties to stop working together. They fear that the illegal activities that they carried out will be exposed by the government and that they will be punished, so toppling the government is their only option for survival. Personally, I will not agree to any action that will fulfil the desires of the Rajapaksa faction.
?: Recently I saw a popular Facebook meme which said me aanduwen godagiye Wasim saha Lasantha Vitharai (only WasimThajuden and Lasantha Wickramatunga were 'unearthed' under the current administration.) I think this captures essentially how the people feel about how the government has gone about fulfilling one of its main promises - anti-corruption and punishing those behind massive corrupt activities. Why have things been so slow?
A: Because some people in the government have come to certain agreements / deals with the Rajapaksa camp. For example, three ministers were involved in defending the controversial Avant Garde company. For them what was more important was a good payday, not the sustainability of the government. Certain people have been appointed to hold important positions in State institutions. They have had business dealings with Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. There are ministers who address Gotabhaya as "Sir". There are also ministers who meet Gotabhaya secretly and share classified information with him.
Also, certain bureaucrats still have strong ties with the Rajapaksas. For example, once a Government Analyst's Department report on why there were no serial numbers on the weapons used by Avant Garde stated that this was because the weapons had been rubbing against each other. I mean how ridiculous is that? This is why I always say that while the government has changed the State apparatus remains pretty much unchanged.
So we are carrying-out the investigations despite a lot of resistance and betrayal. But I am not just making excuses. As a government we must take strong action against the people (who try to hold us back) and fulfil our promises.
?: While there is criticism against the government, I don't believe that those who voted for Maithripala Sirisena would vote for a member of the Rajapaksa family. And the UNP leadership knows that the Rajapaksas can be used to split the SLFP. Isn't this another reason why they are not punished because they are useful?
A: There is such a belief. But it is stupid to believe that the UNP can win by splitting the SLFP. Those who believe such ideas and act upon them are just inviting disaster.
Only by coming up with an attractive and concrete plan to develop the nation and achieve good governance can we win. Leaders who resorted to manipulation and Machiavellian ploys have not been successful.
The ideal example is J.R. Jayewardene. Today not even hardcore UNPers celebrate JR because his entire career was filled with intrigue and manipulation. People don't like it. On the other hand, Sri Lankans still venerate politicians such as D.S. Senanayake who were honest and told the truth to the people.
?: The verdict of the Raviraj murder case, where the accused were released by a jury, has led to a lot of controversy. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, who represented Raviraj's family, was quick to declare the verdict as an example of the inherent bias in the Sri Lankan judiciary against minorities. What do you think will be the fallout of this?
A: The verdict does not reflect on the independence or the impartiality of our judges and this can't be taken as a reason to push international judges to investigate alleged war crimes against the security forces.
The problem here was the way our juries work. When a case is taken up, the defendant has the right to ask for a jury, which will either consist of completely Sinhalese or Tamils. There is no provision to have juries comprising both Sinhalese and Tamil members. And the defendant can either ask for a Sinhalese or Tamil jury.
In a case like that this has a significant impact. In this case the jury comprised Sinhalese and they might be influenced by the belief that no matter what these people have done, they are war heroes and that Raviraj was a pro-LTTE politician. We can't discount the impact the preconceived notions of the jury members had on their verdict. The judge was not at fault and we need to change the jury system, not to clamour for international judges.
I admit that the verdict has created a problem for Sri Lanka. If they are not guilty, who killed Raviraj? On the other hand, the Director of State Intelligence Services gave a testament that was deliberately planned to muddy the waters. That is why I insist over and over again that, although the government changed the State has not changed. We must do something about this fast, because when these things keep on happening people lose faith in the government.
?: Finally, as the Minister of Health what are your priority areas in 2017?
A: The biggest health challenge in the coming years, here and in other parts of the world, is non-communicable diseases. We have started several initiatives to address this issue. One is our battle against tobacco and even the companies are saying that smoking has dropped by 45 per cent after our tax increases. We have also looked at whether people have started smoking beedi but that is not the case. Usually a person who smoked cigarettes doe not shift to beedi and if beedi consumption has increased, at maximum it would be around 1 per cent.
The other aspect is educating the people. Right now health checkups are only performed by the private sector and most can't afford it. I plan to establish 842 centres where people can get heath checkups done. We have also established 906 well women centres where women can screen for breast and ovarian cancers.
We will also introduce the concept of a "family physician". Today people go for specialists even for a cold. What we want to do is attach 5, 000 persons to one designated doctor. Those people must get a health check-up done once a year or once in every six months and the family physician will keep the records with him. So the doctor can study the reports, determine whether there is a possibility that someone can contract a serious disease and take necessary steps at the initial stages. Initially this endeavour will cost a lot of money, but in the long run we will save much more because we are addressing diseases before they require extensive medical care.
Moreover, we will go to each school and government institution to educate them of good health practices, food and exercises.
?: There are rumours of a Cabinet reshuffle next year and the appointment of a new Prime Minister. It is said that you are one of the leading contenders for that post. Is there a truth in this?
A: There is a difference between people talking about it and getting that appointment. I also know that there is a rumour circulating and people have asked me whether it's true. But I don't know how this rumour started.