There seems to be a lot of nit picking about what the government has not done, so it is time to talk about promises already fulfilled, and steps taken to implement the rest.The most important achievement of all is the freedom we have; to talk, to write, to criticise without the danger of being taken away in white vans or murdered like the late Lasantha was. A Sunday paper,owned by the government ran an article last Sunday, indulging in Ranil bashing which is perhaps, the writer’s only claim to fame! I wonder what would have been his fate if he did this against rulers of the last regime then,or would the paper have ever published the article?
No government to my mind, has done so much to lessen the burdens of the people as this one has, in so short a space of time. The promise to raise the salaries of public servants was begun as promised with immediate relief of a payment of Rs 5000 in February by a circular issued for implementation.A public administration circular was issued on 15th February on the allowance of Rs3,500 to pensioners.Already implemented is the 15% interest o for Rs 1 million deposits in State Banks. Action is being taken to increase the Samurdhi allowance to 200% of the present rate before the New Year in April.The promise to introduce a system of providing nutritious meals to pregnant mothers to prevent low weight births has already been done in Polonnaruwa on the 21st March and in Jaffna on the 27th March.The taxes which were promised to be lowered to reduce prices on ten essential food items was done after the first budget in January.Import taxes were reduced to protect local producers who produced essential goods.The price of fuel was reduced which led to a substantial decrease in the cost of living.The price of domestic gas was reduced as promised.The promise of a guaranteed price of Rs 50 for a KG of rice was done.
Already implemented is the relief to be provided on interest and penalties payable on pawned gold items up to a value of Rs200,000.Arrangements have been made to open 22 hospitals till 8pm and 5 teaching hospitals till 10pm.Other hospitals are also being identified for these arrangements based on the need to do so. Deploying members of the tri forces to provide security for ministers and their families has been suspended.1000 acres in Valligamam in the Northern Province and 1100 acres in Samphur in the East have been identified for resettlement and work has already begun on the process.
"The promise to introduce a system of providing nutritious meals to pregnant mothers to prevent low weight births has already been done in Polonnaruwa on the 21st March and in Jaffna on the 27th March"
425 acres in the High Security Zone were returned to the rightful owners. A democratic civil administration has been put in place in the North and the South. Political appointees to diplomatic missions have been recalled to begin arrangements to re-establish a professional foreign service.The National Medicines Regulatory Bill was approved by Parliament which will result in an effective institution to regulate trade in food, items, cosmetics, drugs and other essential items.. All other promises are in the process of being implemented once the necessary reports have been finalised. Important for women are the decisions made to introduce legislation to increase the participation of women in decision making by ensuring at least 25% of women’s representation in provincial councils, local government bodies and at the national level.There will soon be set up a Women’s Independence Commission and a proposal for improving the economic status of underprivileged women.
Most of the criticism come from media moghuls bent on being kingmakers .some whose requests for deals have been rejected. Others are the cocktail circuit whose knowledge of politics, and democracy are limited, who spend their time in a merry go round of conspicuous consumption, with little thought for the underprivileged. Their grouse is that the corrupt have not been arrested. This is a democratic government. One cannot rush into situations like bulls in a china shop with arrests, murder or kidnapping people. The proper norms of justice and law and order have to be followed. We now at long last have an independent judiciary which is the base of good governance.
"A time like this demands strong minds,great hearts,true faith and ready hands; men whom the lust of office does not kill; men who the lust of spoils cannot buy; men who possess opinions and a will; men who love honour, men who cannot lie"
This is not a government of one party; as such there are many involved in decision making, and the choice of those to head public institutions.Surely one supports a leader or a political party because one believes that he or the party has the knowledge, experience and vision to best lead the country--- not for personal gain, perks or privilege.That to my mind is the correct thinking on the way one votes.If one criticised the precious government as some are doing now with the present one, their criticism would have led to dire consequences. Corruption has resulted in billions of public funds being tucked away in private accounts. Nepotism and family bandyism were at its very worst in our country’s history. Have we forgotten all that so soon? Extravagant tamashas are not indulged in by the government. No large delegations accompany the president or other VIP’s abroad at the expense of the taxpayer. Both the president and the prime minister live simple lives and do not spend public funds to enhance their lives and those of their kith and kin with extravagant lifestyles.
Although there was much boastful talk and celebrations on winning the war which we all applaud, there was absolutely nothing constructive done towards reconciliation,reconstruction and rehabilitation of those affected. We are a multi-ethnic country and ethnic amity is a must on the way to progress. Every citizen must have equal rights;it is up to the majority to be magnanimous for the sake of unity.The gaps got wider during the last few years with attacks made on minority communities and no attempt made to bring communities together. In this context, I recall the late Dudley Senanayakes’s words that each and every citizen must be able to proudly acclaim ‘This is my own, my native land’.
A time like this demands strong minds,great hearts,true faith and ready hands; men whom the lust of office does not kill; men who the lust of spoils cannot buy; men who possess opinions and a will; men who love honour, men who cannot lie.’
For me the greatest achievement is the peace between races now we enjoy. We were heading towards disaster and it looked as if nothing would stop the roller coaster when suddenly the change occurred. Now the value of peace is again taking centre stage. Minorities are being treated as equals and the slow painful journey has started towards reconciliation.. A Sri Lanka Nation.. That is my dream and I am happy Maithree has clearly started the journey.
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