By J. Yogaraj
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says passing the resolution has nothing to do with the TNA having a smooth relationship with the Central Government. This cannot be accepted. You show one face to the Northern Province and a different face to the Central Government. Already the TNA has got a strained relationship with Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi Districts. When Mavai Senathiraja went to those places on routine political work, people had shown their displeasure and anger.
Posters were put up by Jaffna University students to show their agitation against R. Sampanthan and M. Sumanthiran on the matter where these parliamentarians have attended the 67th Independence Day celebrations without getting the permission of the TNA Executive Committee. Moderate Tamils fear that at any stage the present government might say, Tamils do not have serious problems in this country because the TNA leaders have accepted the present Constitution by attending the 67th Independence Celebration.
Further, Tamils suspect that TNA has not taken any genuine effort to capture the Eastern Province Chief Minister post. This is another setback. This has already damaged the good relationship between Tamils and Muslims.
Even Mano Ganeshan was worried about the deteriorating situation between Tamils and Ranil Wickremesinghe headed minority de facto United National Party (UNP) Government. Already the present government has condemned the resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council stating that earlier the Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran and his team did try to pass the same resolution, but finally they removed the term ‘Genocide’ and passed the resolution during the previous regime, but now they recalled the same resolution and passed with the term ‘Genocide’.
This is ridiculous. This also shows the double standards of the Northern Provincial Council. But one of the senior stalwarts of TNA said that this time it was passed not for anything else but to attract the Western forces and bring their attention to this issue. This shows another angle of the issue. This issue will become a never ending headache and will slowly promote separatism. This is the feeling of the people in the South. Therefore, the present government should quickly solve this problem (may be to a certain extent) before it is too late and gets out of control. Already India has cautioned about this situation. It is worried about the extent of damage caused to reconciliation efforts due to this resolution. This might hamper the reconciliation efforts.
The present government had already condemned the resolution passed by Northern Provincial Council. Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva also strongly protested against this resolution. DNA Chief, General Sarath Fonseka, also condemned the resolution in a strongly worded media release. But the TNA and its allies are not taking these things seriously, instead the TNA and certain forces of the Tamil Diaspora are pushing their agenda without any difficulty. This is ridiculous. It looks as if TNA was waiting for this situation to execute its plan which promotes the interests of the LTTE. The present government should take serious note of it.
Further the resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka seeking a probe into 60 years of ‘genocide’ against Tamils in the island nation found support among some political parties in Tamil Nadu.
While the ruling AIADMK had no immediate reaction, the DMK and the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) felt that more time should be given to the new administration of President Maithripala Sirisena to foster ethnic reconciliation.
DMK Spokesman T.K.S. Elangovan said the resolution reflected the position that his party had consistently taken ever since the conclusion of the civil war in 2009. However, as a new government had just taken over, some time had to be given to assess its commitment towards resolving the Tamil question.
Mini budget creates chaos
On the other hand, the mini budget creates chaos in maintaining inflation under 5% and economists fear that it will make a negative impact on the economy of the country. Giving many reliefs to the people is a good move, but finding ways to raise the funds and revenue will be an uphill task. If funds are not raised as expected then the debt burden will go up which will be an extra headache to the government. Already, this was very well mentioned by Moody’s Investors Service. Higher Public expenditure without a proper plan for revenue will lead to a drastic situation and might hamper the country’s stable economy. It is also understood that the new government is looking for a huge IMF loan facility. But if that is approved, then the government also should get ready to accept some conditions of the IMF. These conditions may affect the proposed 100-day plan of the new government. In the meantime, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which has the majority in the Parliament is going through the major reform at office bearers’ level. But the SLFP must give serious thought to one thing. The SLFP during the past 10 years has developed to a strong political force and well accepted by the people. The rift between Chandrika Kumaratunge (CBK) and Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) should not hamper the good name of the party. Internal rifts between individuals should not damage the party’s good name. If the party’s respect is lost then it is very difficult to build the image again.
On the other hand, an internal rift of a major political party will always be an outright advantage to the opponent political party even if that party is weak. Therefore, internal problems will make even a weak opponent, to become strong. Therefore, it is high time that the think tank of SLFP should have thought wisely and worked out a plan to bring the present President Maithripala, former presidents CBK and MR on stage shedding their petty differences. Recently, Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe came up with a new goal to say that he expects the whole Parliament, to be the government, after the General Election. These statements are attractive to talk but difficult to implement. Sri Lanka has a long history after independence in 1948. Since 1948, none of the governments had the whole Parliament as the governing body. That situation will never materialize. Also a government should have a strong Opposition to have good governance. If the whole Parliament becomes government then there will not be an Opposition to criticize or comment about the weak points of the government.
State of economy of New Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s new budget with a lower debit target of 4.4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) supports Sri Lanka’s credit profile, but higher current spending could revive inflation, a global rating agency has warned.
Moody’s Investors Service said in a report released Wednesday the new target could be at risk given the current trend of revenues.
The new Sri Lankan Government revised the previous government’s budget for 2015 on 29 January with lower fiscal deficit target and higher public expenditure.
The Moody’s report highlighted the lack of future debt trajectory in the budget statement despite the country having a huge debt burden, much higher than its same-rated peers, International Business Times reported.
According to the report, a reduction in fuel prices and lower taxes on essential food items will further add to the fiscal deficit.
Moody’s said the new target could be at risk given the current trend of revenues. “Although revenues have been declining as a percentage of GDP since 2006 – with the exception of a slight increase in 2011 – the budget assumes they will rise 14.1% year-on-year, and will be 14.3% of GDP in 2015, from 14.4% of GDP estimated in 2014.”
The Interim Budget proposes increasing salaries of State sector employees by
Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000 out of that will be given in February and remaining Rs 5,000 in June raising State sector employees’ salaries by 47%. About 1.3 million public employees will benefit from the concession.
But it should be noted that the first part of the salary increment (Rs 5,000) will be granted by deducting the salary increment proposed by the previous government. The previous government proposed a Rs 3,000 increase. In that context public servants will get a Rs 2,000 increase as the first release of Rs 5,000 from the present government. Anyhow, this salary increase will widen the fiscal deficit.
Government in disarray says JVP
As correctly pointed out by JVP leader Parliamentarian, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the present government is in disarray. The President appointed the Prime Minister who does not command the majority in Parliament. On the other hand, the President appointed the Opposition Leader in the capacity of Chairman of the SLFP. The JVP leader said it looks like the President speaks on behalf of minority UNP Government and Prime Minister Ranil Wicremesinghe speaks on behalf of some SLFP members. Anura Kumara Dissanayake reiterated that this journey cannot last long. “This is a difficult and dangerous combination,” he said.