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Overview of the 100 day program

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Last week, this writer analyzed some of the points in the 100 day program. This analysis continues with other points in this program.

 3. Graduates, who have to slave like laborers, will be given regular appointments in a systematic fashion. Opportunities for promotion will be provided in accordance with suitable criteria.
 7. Pregnant mothers will be given an allowance of Rs 20,000 to supplement nourishment.
 8. Excessive taxes will be lowered to reduce prices on ten essential food items. Special provisions will be put in place for protection of those producing such goods locally.
11. The price of a cylinder of domestic gas will be reduced by Rs 300.
12. The guaranteed purchase price for a kilo of rice will be Rs 50.
13. The guaranteed purchase price for a kilo of potatoes will be Rs 80.
14. The guaranteed purchase price for a kilo of tea leaves will be between Rs 80 and 90.
15. The guaranteed purchase price for rubber will be Rs 350 per kilo.
16. The guaranteed purchase price paid to dairy farmers for a liter of milk will be raised by Rs 10 from the present to Rs 60.
33. Wi-fi will be made available free of charge in centers in every town to facilitate internet access
37. To develop more jobs and increase exports we will regain the GSP+ provisions that were lost
38. We will review the current program to integrate finance companies and banks
39. An institution will be established to regulate and develop micro-finance
70. The present politicization with regard to promotions in the police force will be replaced with a transparent scheme based on capacity, skills, commitment and efficiency
 74. The program will provide facilities to schools which educate children of plantation workers in the Badulla, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Matale and Kegalle Districts so that they have access to education in the Tamil medium up to university level (including Science).
 75. Relief will be provided to all those illegally displaced for various reasons from their homes and lands
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A few of these points have been taken for discussion this time. Accordingly, if you look at point no 3, this will solve the long standing problem in universities. The passed out graduates face many problems when getting jobs from different sectors. If properly implemented, this system will solve the unemployment of graduates.

Next is point 7 and it correctly addresses the pregnant mother’s issues. The particular provision will provide better relief to low income families where there are pregnant mothers.

Points 8 and 11 to 16 will reduce the prices of essential commodities while ensuring a reasonable price to the producers. Reduction of taxes to essential commodities will definitely reduce the prices. Thus it will considerably reduce cost of living.

Point 33 will help to promote IT use and internet usage. IT will introduce the latest technology to rural areas. Providing these services at a lower rate brings the best advantages.
Point 37 will fulfill the long term requirement. GSP+ One will help win some of the lost prestige.

Points 38 and 39 will provide the ground work for the improvement of the economy. Point no 74 will help the estate societies to improve their education sector. Estate sector lacks in many fields including education and health.

Parliament’s first sitting convened after the presidential election on January 20. These are days when parliament sittings are very important to pass many amendments. To pass these resolutions, the ruling coalition needs the majority. For this, the ruling party needs patience and tolerance. They need to accommodate SLFP and UPFA members and avoid taking political revenge.

Parliament Convenes after elections
January 20 was  the first sitting day of Sri Lankan parliament after Presidential Election 2015. The new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe addressed the House for the first time.

Leader of the House, Chief Government Whip and new Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva also addressed the House.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the minor coalition parties of United Freedom People’s Alliance (UPFA) sat independently. The minor parties include Mahajana Eksath Peramuna led by Dinesh Gunawardena with 3 seats, National Freedom Front led by Wimal Weerawansa with 2 seats and the left parties with 5 seats, EPDP led by Douglas Devananda with 3 seats and the National Congress of A.L.M. Athaullah.

The main constituent of UPFA Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which has 128 seats was split recently.

Members who are supporting President Maithreepala Sirisena including ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Duminda Dissanayake, M.K.D.S. Gunawardena, Naveen Dissanayake, Nandimithra Ekanayake and Faizer Mustafa sat with the government while other members, led by Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva, sat on the opposition side.

The Speaker and Deputy Speaker remained in their respective seats.

Strengthening bilateral ties with India
The newly appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera, met his Indian counterpart Shushma Swaraj and had a cordial discussion. Samaraweera also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Looking at these events, the foreign policy of the new President might change a little giving more weight to India over China.

India recently commended the early steps taken by the new government of Sri Lanka for “political reconciliation, inclusiveness and participation.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the people of Sri Lanka for the successful conclusion of elections. He said that he had been watched Sri Lanka with great regional and international interest when Samaraweera, called on Prime Minister Modi recently in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Modi congratulated new President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for the impressive victory, which is a vote for unity and change in Sri Lanka.

He expressed hope that President Sirisena’s victory will improve peace and advance reconciliation and development in Sri Lanka.

“President Sirisena may have won by surprise, but it was the change people wanted. People’s verdict is the final verdict of the nation. But the main point is the Unity and National Government. If the 100 day program is to succeed, it is important to have an understanding coalition between the main political parties namely SLFP and UNP. At this crucial juncture, UNP cannot act to sideline SLFP and SLFP also should not act to sideline UNP. The middle man who could bring a reconciliation will be the president Maithripala. If president acts intelligently, he may succeed in getting 2/3 majority without any bargaining. President also has to address the grievances of the minorities especially the Tamils who are well represented by TNA. Maithripala Government should first give a clear impression to the people that this government is not a UNP government or SLFP government or a minority government. The government must show this is a UNITY government through its day to day activities. Thereby, they should try to win the hearts of the Tamils and persuade the TNA to join the government. So far the new government has done some ground work and appeased the minorities. Land issues of northern province were immediately looked into. Fuel prices reduced to pave way to reduction of Cost of Living. Civil Governor Mr Palliakara was appointed to the northern province. Extra security officials and back up vehicles for the ministers will be reduced. Action will be taken to reduce the Debt burden of the government. Anti-corruption bill will be strengthened. All these are good symptoms of GOOD GOVERNANCE. Hats off to Maithripala Government.
But we need to see a few more healthy changes in the government mechanism to justify the good governance.
(The writer is a Senior Journalist)

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