Social scientists have told us that poverty is the most widespread disease and hunger the biggest killer. On October 16, World Food Day, the United Nations revealed that at least 870 million people would be struggling in a pigsty of hunger while an increasingly selfish and greedy world allows the gap between the rich and the poor to grow to monstrous if not self–destructive proportions.
Oliver De Shutter the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food told a news conference the number of hungry people had come down from one billion in the 1990s, but he lamented that governments were not doing enough to combat global hunger and the momentum had been lost.
Speaking in Rome on the eve of a ministerial meeting of the FAO, Mr. De Shutter said the G20 group of the world’s richest countries had last year set up a new mechanism – the Rapid Reaction Forum – aimed at preventing future price crises. But the forum had never met, showing how serious the rich world was about social justice though it is sowing what it reaped with both the European Union and the United States being hit by the worst recession in decades.
What is the situation in Sri Lanka? If one in eight people in the world is suffering below the poverty line, the food crisis in Sri Lanka must be the same though the Government boasts of high growth rates.
This year has been especially bad for Sri Lanka. Millions of poor people – including farmers, fisher folk and urban workers – are known to be struggling for survival with prices of most items having taken the place of the retired space shuttle endeavour. A salary increase of 12% was promised in the 2012 budget, but it never came though the growing number of ministers, other politicians and their stooges are continuing to indulge in vulgar extravagance. Worsening the crisis is the shameless corruption from top to bottom with VVIPs hiding millions of dollars in Swiss Bank accounts, while lower level politicians and their boot lickers demand bribes for almost everything ranging from the repair of roads to the restoration of wewas.
Along with the worst-ever corruption and cost of living crisis, Sri Lanka was also hit this year by one of the worst-ever droughts. Hundreds of thousands of farmer families found themselves in mud holes as paupers with acres of their crops destroyed. Before last month’s elections to three provincial councils the Government promised that every affected farmer family would get Rs.100,000 as compensation, but most farmers say they have received little or nothing.
With the rich and ruling elite comprising only about 15% of Sri Lanka’s population having control over 85% of the country’s wealth and resources, the Government will make little or no headway till it takes effective and even drastic steps to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.
Very revealing editorial. This Govt is serving only the elite classes in Colombo while majority of the population in rural areas do not get what they deserve.
Lasantha Pethiyagoda Sunday, 21 October 2012 06:54 AM
The statistics provided by agencies of government must be independently verified for accuracy and reliability. It would be in the interests of government to portray matters in a positive light. People on the street should think for themselves whether their lot has become better as time progressed. That would be the best measure of success or otherwise.
Ryan Saturday, 20 October 2012 12:53 PM
Next time quote the only reliable statistics , the UN. Just because you think....... is not a reliable situation.SL has made great strides ,if it is not good enough for you,too bad. Any kind of economic or financial watch that is monitoring on a short term is not as reliable as looking at it in a long term.
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