|Friday, 12 March 2004|
The United People's Freedom Alliance Election Manifesto
Sri Lanka is presently in the throes of a deep economic, political and cultural crisis.
It seems clear how the United National Front which came into power pledging themselves to usher in an era of peace and prosperity for the country has, by its programme founded on borrowed thinking put in place during the past 02 years brought the country and its people to the brink of destruction.
To pre-empt this catastrophe, the SLFP and the JVP concluded a MOU on January 20, 2004 agreeing to launch a "five point" nation - building programme. The signing of the MOU followed by the founding of the "United Peoples Freedom Alliance" marks a watershed in the political development of the country. With eight more political parties and groups joining forces with them, the "United Peoples, Freedom Alliance" is now forging ahead as the rallying point of the widest section of the progressive forces in Sri Lanka.
There is now no way out left for Sri Lanka but to harness the collective strength, capabilities and potential of all Sri Lankans as well as their total commitment, sacrifices, know how and virtues plus advanced knowledge and technological skills to be acquired globally in a well-planned exercise of re-building the country, eschewing all sectarian differences such as political, class, caste, creed etc.
The "United Peoples' Freedom Alliance" is pleased to present its Election Manifesto to the people based on the national programme that would guide them in the task ahead.
Let us make the Nation Building Programme a success! Let us make Sri Lanka a strong and proud nation!
Victory for Sri Lanka!
The Freedom Alliance is a progressive force of the people, and at all times it works with the objective of ensuring a sustainable economic development which would benefit all sections of our population.
* We are committed to building a prosperous Nation, where all our people, of all races, religions and political creeds could live with dignity and equal opportunity. We guarantee the fundamental rights and ensure everyone is treated equally before the law.
* We are committed to restore peace and harmony among communities and resolve the national problem through a process of negotiated political settlement. We are also committed to take all measures required, to prevent our nation from going back to war.
* We are committed to attain economic development so that all sections of our people may enjoy the dividends thereof by eliminating poverty.
* We believe in making available to all our children, rich and the poor, of all communities, the best of education, knowledge and skills as well as good quality healthcare system to all our peoples.
* We are also committed to building a Nation of responsible and morally good citizens, through the elimination of crime and violence and drug and alcohol abuse.
* A policy framework and programme will be formulated to maximize the benefits of globalization and minimize its adverse effects on the society and economy.
* Through all this we are committed to building Sri Lanka into a new, modern, prosperous, enlightened Nation, where humane and decent values would prevail once again. In order to achieve all this we shall form a new Government, which would be an enlightened and caring one that would establish a modern, efficient, honest and decent system of governance, with the complete participation of all interested sections of our peoples.
01 Constitutional Reforms
The present Constitution enacted in 1978 and its inherent difficulty of securing the stipulated majorities in Parliament have hindered meaningful Constitutional reforms, whilst causing problems for good and effective governance.
The resulting position is that the country bears the burden of a Constitution that a large majority of the People want significantly changed. It is therefore proposed to enact a new Constitution to remove present impediments while creating a significant national consensus in order to ensure political stability. A Constitution which assures the sovereignty of the people, and ensures their security, consolidates communal harmony, protects the nature of the State and its structure, while protecting democracy and guarantees human rights, will be enacted with the people's approval.
The Freedom Alliance therefore seeks a mandate from the People of Sri Lanka to convene a Constituent Assembly consisting of the Members of Parliament, to formulate and promulgate a new Constitution that will derive its form and validity from the expression of the political will of the People.
The proposed Constitution will strengthen democracy by abolishing the Executive Presidency and replacing it with a Cabinet and Parliamentary form of Government and introduce a new electoral system that would be more democratic and representative. After the formulation of the Constitution, it will be presented to the people for their views and suggestions and after necessary amendments, the draft Constitution will be placed before the people at a Referendum before enactment.
The Constitutional Principles on which the final Constitution will be based would include the following:
* The acceptance of Sri Lanka as the homeland of all Sri Lankan citizens,
* A commitment to democracy, pluralism and human rights and human security and dignity,
* The foremost place given to Buddhism will be preserved, while assuring to adherents of all religions the rights guaranteed by the present Constitution,
* Sinhala and Tamil will be Official Languages. English will be a National language,
* A Bill of Rights that would in addition to civil and political rights, include social, economic and cultural rights and effective remedies against their violation or denial. Provision will be made for ensuring the rights of women, children, handicapped and other disadvantaged sections of society,
* Conservation of the environment and natural resources,
* Independence and impartiality of the Judiciary,
* The supremacy of the Constitution,
* The prevention of abuse or misuse of all powers vested by law and the Constitution,
* The elimination of corruption at every level and the introduction of prompt and deterrent measures for the prosecution and imposition of condign punishment against persons found guilty of such acts,
* Strict and impartial enforcement of the laws of the land and deterrent punishment for those interfering with the process of law enforcement.
02 Administration, National Security & Foreign Policy
1. National Policies and Planning Council
Very often the formulation of National Policies and planning throughout the past 55 years had been informal and non-methodical. We have so far not succeeded in bringing about a definite institution empowered to formulate policies and to implement plans irrespective of changes of governments.
A National Council of Policy Formulation and Plan Implementation empowered under the Constitution will be established for this purpose. The Council will basically consist of politicians, academics and professional experts and it will formulate plans to be implemented through Ministries on the aforesaid basis. An operational Committee will be set up for each Ministry.
2. Administrative Reforms
The State Administration Sector will be subjected to reforms after identifying the existing weaknesses. The main objective of reformation is to make public administration more efficient and accommodative of present day conditions, capable of more scientific and expansive development. This will be done after consulting public opinion.
The intended reforms will include:- I. Elimination of political interference in State administrative matters and introduction of structural reforms to make public administration more efficient.
II. Elimination of all weaknesses such as deep rooted delays, corruption, negligence, unethical transactions and place- related discomforts, and to convert the centres of social services, to more modern, efficient and corrupt-free places of respectable public relations.
III. Re-demarcation of the limits of Grama Niladhari areas, Divisional Secretariat Divisions, Districts and Provincial Administrative Zones on a scientific basis. These activities will be completed within the first year.
3. National Security and Foreign Policy
* The Foreign Policy of the Freedom Alliance will be designed to safeguard the Sovereignty and Independence of Sri Lanka. While maintaining the dignity and self-respect of our country and people, every effort will be made to promote friendship and goodwill with all States and international organizations.
* Our foreign policy will not be aligned or subservient to the interests of any other country or group of countries.
* Our foreign policy will be based on peaceful co-existence and it will be liberal, progressive and enlightened.
* In particular, the Freedom Alliance will ensure that our foreign policy will not endanger the sovereignty and independence of our neighbouring States but rather preserve and expand our existing goodwill with our neighbours in the spheres of political, economic and cultural relations.
* The foreign policy of the Freedom Alliance will promote active cooperation and engagement with other regional groupings of countries with, and through, whom Sri Lanka could promote its political and economic objectives.
* Sri Lanka will play an active role in the deliberations and projects of the United Nations and associated bodies, as was the practice during most of the post independence period.
* Sri Lanka will actively participate in all efforts directed towards the equitable reform of the structure of the United Nations and will join all those States that are concerned with preserving the stature and authority of the United Nations in matters concerning the security, territorial integrity and sovereignty of all States.
* Sri Lanka will collaborate with all those States which advocate a multilateral, rather than a unilateral, approach to the resolution of problems affecting the international community of States.
* Sri Lanka will be a party to all such international conventions, treaties and agreements, that would promote the political and economic objectives of our country; in particular, conventions, treaties and agreements dealing with terrorism, crime and law enforcement, the prevention of money laundering, the prohibition of dealings in narcotics and other pernicious drugs, economic and social relations, the alleviation of poverty, gender equality and empowerment.
* Sri Lanka will be a party to convention treaties and agreements dealing with the protection of children, the disadvantaged and the handicapped and the preservation of the environment in all its aspects.
* As a matter of high priority the Freedom Alliance will take steps to make Sri Lanka accede to the United Nations Convention against corruption thus ending the shameful situation that Sri Lanka is not among the large number of States that have already signed the Convention.
The purposes of the Convention are to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively.
* To promote, facilitate and support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against, corruption, including in asset recovery; to promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and public property.
* With regard to the Foreign Service, urgent steps will be taken to remedy the loss of professionalism and motivation that has occurred since December 2001. Recruitment to the Foreign Service will be strictly on merit. Political patronage will have no place in the recruitment of staff to the Sri Lankan missions abroad.
When appointing officials of the Foreign Service as Heads of Missions, seniority will be the prime consideration. Short term in-service training and educational workshops will be conducted in order to equip Foreign Service officials with knowledge and understanding of the changing national and international conditions relating to new national and political needs.
Training and educational opportunities for Foreign Service officials will be provided so that they may acquire an in-depth knowledge of international relations, both academic and practical, and learn foreign languages so that they may be better equipped to carry out their functions when serving abroad.
4. Forces and the Police
* The protection of sovereignty and independence of Sri Lanka is the foremost duty and responsibility of the Armed Forces. The difficulties and problems confronted by the police in maintaining law and order within the country and by the three Armed Forces, in fulfilling the aforesaid responsibilities will be identified and speedy action will be taken to remedy them.
* Army Rules and Regulations will be reformed to provide for appraisal of knowledge, aptitude, cleverness, gallantry and length of service of all ranks of the armed forces and their familiarity with military equipment in granting their promotions.
* Incidence of corruption and inefficiency in the Police Force are due to absence of responsibility, and outdated rules and procedures in force. Introduction of new rules and procedures and special attention to the following matters affecting the morale and discipline of the Police Force is deemed necessary. To achieve this, the National Police Commission will be further strengthened.
* Appointment of Officers-in-charge of Police Stations, Police Districts and Police Divisions.
* Effective crime prevention measures
* Suitable machinery to deal with complaints against police.
5. Judiciary and the Law
* Speedy actions will be taken in the judicial and legal fields to curb and combat all unlawful activities including escalating wave of crimes, frauds and corruption that are likely to pose threats to the national security of Sri Lanka.
* The field of fundamental rights will be further widened to provide for individuals to seek redress against violation of their fundamental rights by other individuals and private organizations.
* Right to free legal aid should be extended to low income earning citizens in the matter of litigation. For this purpose a Legal Aid Department will be established. * Elimination of laws delays will be one of the main subjects to be addressed in the reorganization of Courts of Law.
One of the steps under contemplation will be to specifically lay down time limits for disposal of each type of case.
* Wide-ranging reforms will be undertaken to prevent irregularities and corruption and to remedy administrative shortcomings in the Prisons. The welfare and rehabilitation process aimed at transforming prisoners into good citizens will be further strengthened.
* Necessary legislation will be launched to impose severe punishment on those convicted of such offences as slavery and sexual abuse of children, sexual offences against women and narcotic offences and to give publicity to the identity of the convicts
* Discipline among politicians: It would be necessary for political leaders and political parties to enforce discipline among their Members of Parliament and other politicians, where there has been infringement of the law by them. While a code of ethics will be useful, the strict enforcement of discipline would be the only deterrent. Political leaders will take responsibility for ensuring the implementation of initiatives taken in this regard among the rank and file of the party.
* Criminal Justice System: It is a known fact that deficiencies and shortcomings in the criminal justice system have had an impact on the law and order situation in our society.
The institutions of criminal justice system which comprises the Judiciary, the Police, and the prison will be modernised and made efficient. It is proposed that a Presidential Commission be appointed to review the entire criminal justice system and make recommendations. A single body would be appointed to study and make recommendations on the law and order aspects of these three institutions.
6. Democracy and Human Rights
Freedom Alliance considers the protection of democratic and human rights of the people as one of its prime responsibilities.
* Laws introduced by diverse fields that are preventing the implementation of the United Nation's Charter of Human Rights will be revised and essential amendments will be brought about.
* All human rights including the right of speech, assembly, publication and of holding a political ideology of one's choice and living by that ideology and observing a religion of one's belief and the independence of conscience will be guaranteed.
* Employment of children and obtaining their services will be prohibited.
* Paid maternity leave and other facilities to employed women will be guaranteed, irrespective of the number of children they have.
7. Rights of the Working People
* People's right to organize themselves under Trade Unions will be guaranteed. Negotiations on demands of workers will be accommodated while they are on strike.
* Political victimization of workers will be abandoned immediately. A fully empowered commission will be established to redress the grievances of all those who have been subjected to political victimization so far.
* Welfare and uplift of standard of living of the workers and their family members will be given top priority. Their existing pension schemes will be revised to ensure a pension to commensurate with the changing cost of living. A new method of compensation in case of accidents and distress, a new insurance scheme and wide opportunities to further their vocational training or education will be provided for.
* A method of solving all manner of employees' disputes through arbitration will be introduced. Such Boards of Arbitration will take the basis form of conciliation boards.
* Appointment of chairmen and members of the directorates of all government institutions, corporations, boards and authorities, etc. will be made only from qualified and experienced persons.
* Legislation will be introduced to adopt a single disciplinary procedure in respect of all employees under the State Sector. Steps will be taken to introduce a suitable code of disciplinary procedure in respect of employees in the private sector.
* The abolished pension scheme will be re-introduced, and steps will be taken to rectify its anomalies. Arrangements will be made to make the provisions of that scheme applicable in the case of employees in public ventures including corporations, boards and authorities.
* The limited competitive examination for recruitment to the Sri Lanka Administrative Service, which enabled public servants to enter that service and which has been abolished, will be re-introduced.
* Recruitment to special services like the Sri Lanka Administrative Service will be based only upon marks scored at the limited competitive examination and the viva voce, will be confined to examine the basic qualifications of candidates.
* Labour laws like the Factory Ordinance, Termination of Employment Act and Industrial Disputes Act will be revised to grant relief to workers.
* Abolition of Wages Boards will be stopped. Steps will be taken to set up Wages Boards in all factories where they have not been established so far.
* Steps will be taken to pass legislation preventing irregularities and difficulties prevalent in the process of providing foreign employment opportunities. Positive steps will be taken to expand the Foreign Employment Bureau to reach regional level and to regularize its activities further.
* The foreign earnings of employees abroad will not be subjected to any taxation on entry to Sri Lanka or when earnings are remitted through banks. The Foreign Employment Bureau shall maintain advisory centres for the welfare of children belonging to the families employed abroad.
8. Women and Children
Freedom Alliance believes that taking steps to safeguard the rights of women and children in Sri Lanka is imperative.
* Special attention has to be paid to the needs, problems and security of women employed abroad, in Free Trade Zones and in the estate sector - the spheres which are prominent among major foreign exchange earners. The necessary legislation to achieve this end will be introduced.
* Steps will be taken to provide employed women the necessary knowledge and skills to confront any situations arising out of their employment. Special attention will be paid to their health, nutrition and social welfare.
* Special programs will be launched targeting health, nutrition and welfare of women employed in estates.
* Special measures will be taken to prevent cruelty to women and children, sex crimes, abuse and undue mental pressure of women and children, utilization of child labour and physical punishment to school children.
* Intensive care will be taken to prevent harm caused to children as a result of dangerous drugs, tobacco and liquor. Steps will be taken to bring about a narcotic free schooling system and a society free from intoxicants.
9. Caring for the Vulnerable
Safeguarding the interests of all vulnerable groups of society is foremost in our minds.
They are the disabled, the destitute and the debilitated; those who have been psychologically and physically traumatized as a result of the war or through natural causes, those who are homeless and the "street children". Policies and programmes will be developed to care for these less fortunate people.
10. Rana Viru
Functioning of the Ranaviru Seva Authority (RVSA), founded for those Armed Forces and Police personnel who made the supreme scarifies for the sake of motherland. This Authority not only cater to the basic needs of armed force personnel but also operates a special skills development programmes for the disabled.
03 To settle the National Problem and restore lasting peace with dignity in Sri Lanka
The Freedom Alliance is of the view that the national problem of Sri Lanka is a very sensitive and extremely complex issue that has so far deprived the country of thousand of lives and almost caused a division of the country.
Hence the Freedom Alliance consider it their primary responsibility to intervene in this matter in order to find a correct scientific solution to this problem thereby safeguarding the democratic rights of the people and ensuring the territorial integrity of the country.
1. The Alliance is committed to a negotiated settlement of the national problem.
2. The ceasefire will continue.
3. While rejecting separatism and political violence, the Alliance emphasizes that a negotiated settlement of the ethnic problem should be found through a dialogue with the LTTE and other relevant groups and communities so that a political solution could be achieved which would safeguard the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and the equality, democratic and human rights of the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and other communities of Sri Lanka.
As an initial step to find a solution to Sri Lanka's national problem, steps will be taken to enter into a process of negotiation with the LTTE, and other groups to bring about on reasonable conditions, a sustainable solution ensuring the rights of all communities, eliminating all inequalities and mistrust and establish democracy and the rule of law, according to the will of the majority.
4. Negotiations will be transparent.
5. While being engaged in a correct negotiating process for the resolution of the national problem, steps will be taken to provide immediate solutions after identification of the problems faced by all communities, including the people of the North East who are affected by this conflict, and guarantee their fundamental rights.
6. All inequalities based on ethnicity will be eliminated immediately. Meting out, or aiding and abetting, unequal treatment to any community on the basis of nationality, language, culture, religion or any other similar ground, will be prohibited.
7. While rejecting the concept of homeland confined to the particular nationality the new Constitution will guarantee the right to reside in any place of Sri Lanka, engaging in social and cultural activities to all communities including the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim.
8. No injustice will be caused to any citizen on the basis of nationality in the matter of education, employment and promotion and in any other civil activities. New legislation will be prepared and presented expeditiously in order to eliminate any such discrimination now being practised.
9. Teaching of Sinhala, Tamil and English languages will be made compulsory under the new national education programme to be introduced, and a National Language Education Council will be speedily set up for recruitment and training of teachers for the said purpose.
10. The right of any citizen to engage in any of his administrative transactions in the language of his choice will be guaranteed by the Constitution and action will be taken to post those with a command of the two languages to all administrative units on the basis of a speedily conducted national survey.
11. A speedy programme will be drawn up and implemented to grant citizenship to those non-citizen members of the estate plantation community who opt to become citizens of Sri Lanka.
04 Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in the North and East
We recognize the urgency and the importance of reconstructing the worn torn areas in the North and East (N & E). Despite the on-going military conflict the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction programme began in 1996.
The Freedom Alliance believes that the N & E must be given priority and is committed to the economic development of all less developed regions of the country. For this purpose required changes will be made to "TRIPLE R" programme and implement comprehensive plans on an accelerated basis.
Freedom Alliance recognizes the urgent need for the commencement of the programme of reconstruction and war-torn areas in the North and the East. In launching this exercise, priority will be accorded to the following:
* Provision of low cost housing for 15,000 families.
*Reconstruction of damaged school buildings and construction of new school buildings in areas where they are urgently needed.
* Continuity of education will be guaranteed by taking remedial measures to overcome shortage of teachers and by providing requisite books and other resources needed.
* Vocational and technical education will be strengthened by setting up vocational training centres in the North and East.
* Existing local hospitals will be developed and mobile health clinics will be established in order to cater to the needs of the people. Special attention will be paid to the provision of counselling services in respect of the nutrition of mothers and children, to those mentally affected by traumas, specially to those orphaned children and to those displaced.
* Industrial cities will be set up, on each in the Jaffna town and the three districts in the Northern Province.
* Low interest credit facilities will be provided targeting units of 25 families to help them start their own agricultural projects. State assistance will be granted in providing infrastructural facilities and such other facilities as may be needed.
* State cooperation will be extended together with the participation of the private sector in providing low interest credit facilities for the purchase of fishing gear and in constructing cold storage facilities as well as in marketing and providing canning facilities.
* Provision of drinking water and sanitation will be accorded priority. Abandoned wells will be reconditioned and restored for use by the people.
* A sum of Rs.250 million will be allocated for granting low interest loans in the first year to enable them to start self-employment projects.
* Early action will be initiated to develop Kankesanthurai harbour and three fisheries harbours, and to set up ice factories, industrial estates, and breeding centres, three special economic centres, the reconstruction of schools and hospitals, for vocational training centres, housing projects for the fisheries community and the rehabilitation of Hingurana and Kanthale Sugar factories as special projects earmarked for the northern province.
05 New Economic order for a Strong National economy
Sri Lankan Economy is now in a parlous and crisis state. Ordinary masses are faced with immense difficulties caused by spiralling prices and extremely high cost of living.
Many avenues of income have collapsed due to breakdown of means of production. Future generation will be in the throes of a deep crises due to unprecedented increase in the incidence of public debt. In order to overcome this worsening situation and build up a strong and viable economy, the Freedom Alliance is firmly of the belief that a foundation should be laid for a New Economic Order.
This new economic order should be built up through the competitive participation of a strong private sector and strong public sector who are accountable to the people, based on well - managed foreign investment incentives and promotion of local industries and enterprises.
1. Stop privatization of national resources and public institutions and make them to play an important role in the regeneration of the national economy.
2. Adopt comprehensive ideological and effective measures to reach self sufficiency in food crops and maximum export levels in all crops and to promote consumption of indigenous foods and enhance standards of health and nourishment
3. Accelerated development of small and medium scale industries with state aid. In this connection methodologies will be adopted to bring down the cost of production giving priority to import subsidies.
4. Promote mutually beneficial foreign investments targeting a "strong national economy".
5. Effectively use the resources already introduced in the production process and gain access to areas of production that is feasible if not already done.
6. To keep in the hands of the government the structures and activities essential to fulfil requirements of the people to maintain daily and long term good life standards and in areas where it is not feasible the public sector to involve in competition with the private sector.
7. As a start, formulation of 5 year National Economic Development programme, formation of a National Economic Task Force to provide leadership for the implementation by providing technical advice, progress reviews and obtaining views of the general public and the intellectuals etc.
8. Setting up of Peoples Committees at village level to secure participation of the people and intellectuals for the economic process. The following basic programme will be implemented in the fields of agriculture and industry, harnessing advantages of globalization, voluntary sacrifices, donations and spirit of patriotism, rekindled in the working in general.
Basic food crops and livestock farming:
1. The Agricultural Research Institutes and their process of action will be completely overhauled.
2. The production of agricultural machinery and equipment will be accelerated with government assistance. 3. The necessary changes will be effected to make agrarian services closer to the farmer than it is today.
4. The government will competitively involve in large scale production of essential fertilizers and chemicals.
5. Steps will be taken to set up a government institution with research and production processes to promote the use of carbonic fertilizers and bio-technology. At the same time steps will be taken to increase and accelerate production by using new bio-technological methods which are favourable.
6. An island-wide "Agricultural Equipment Shop" system, where livestock and crop farming equipment and other inputs, could be purchased at concessionary rates, payable on instalment basis, will be established with government involvement.
7. Steps will be taken to establish "Machinery and Equipment Centres" in agricultural areas where agricultural and land machinery and equipment could be obtained from societies for hire on concessionary rates.
8. Steps will be taken to give lands to farmers of the new generation, specially in agrarian colonies and other agricultural areas.
9. After a formal identification of the farmers who are actually unable to pay back their cultivation loans, steps will be taken to relieve them of their old loans.
10. The public sector will be involved competitively and widely in the process of purchasing, distribution and marketing of agro products.
11. The government will re-involve competitively in the large scale production of high quality seeds and planting material, and high quality breeding.
12. A crash programme will be implemented to produce dairy products required for the country with the intervention of small scale, medium and large scale dairy producers under government patronage.
13. Large scale industries will be started for the production of aquatic foods with the intervention of both public and private sectors.
14. Necessary measures will be adopted to re-build the sugar industry which has already collapsed and reach high levels of production.
Export crops sector
1. A Task Force will be established to investigate into the conditions of the extensive tea, coconut and rubber estates which have not increased productivity and also where there is no increase in the production, and to submit recommendations to retrieve them from that condition.
2. Essential changes will be effected to confirm Colombo as a centre for tea auctions with the joint contribution and intervention of both the public and private sectors.
3. Immediate steps will be taken to ascertain the attitude of the world market towards Sri Lankan tea and the causes leading to the collapse of the market and find necessary solutions.
4. Full state patronage will be extended to small and medium scale planters and producers to meet their monetary, technical and market requirements.
5. Early steps will be taken to divert the entire tea plantation to twig tea. 6. High quality coconut and rubber varieties will be encouraged.
7. Financial and technical assistance will be provided for the production of export quality rubber goods.
8. Fragmentation of coconut and rubber lands for sale by blocks will be prohibited immediately.
9. A new loan scheme with concessionary rates of interest to promote cultivation of fancy flowers and plants will be introduced with state involvement to expand the export market.
10. Instead of exporting minor crops as primary products, factories to process them and export as finished goods will be constructed with government involvement. Private sector too will be encouraged in the matter.
Fisheries and aquatic resources industry
1. Priority will be given to construct new fishery harbours and anchorages in essential places.
2. Fish production industries like canned fish, Maldive fish, dry and other fish products, that can be preserved will be established associated with fishing areas. The drain of foreign exchange to import canned fish and Maldive fish will be brought to a minimum.
3. Manufacture of fishing boats targeting foreign markets will be developed as a major industry of the country.
4. Fishing implement centres, to purchase fishing implements at concessionary prices will be set up in essential areas
5. Inland fishing will be developed in the recently reconstructed small and medium scale rural tanks. The government will start fish pond farming and concessions will be extended to the private sector also.
6. After formulating a plan to reap the maximum benefits of the sea fishing industry, the government will involve in it organisationally.
7. The present centres will be expanded for breeding in inland reservoirs and new centres too will be set up.
8. Reaping harvest in inland reservoirs also will be re-organized through fishing societies.
9. Steps will be taken urgently to prevent foreign fishing boats fishing in Sri Lankan coastal waters and quick solutions will be found for the problems faced by the local fishermen.
Environment, lands and natural resources
1. After conducting a rapid scientific survey on land consumption, a long term Land Reforms programme with a plan to develop colonies, agriculture based industries, roads, forests other environmental systems, other than forests and other environmental needs, irrigation and reservoirs, will be formulated and implemented.
2. Legal opportunities provided for large scale land sales to multinational companies and foreigners will be abolished.
3. All steps will be taken to prevent legal and all other measures presently in operation for reclamation of wetlands and agricultural lands.
4. Rapid re-forestation of all gradient precipices, mountain crests and essential land, including specially watershed areas will be undertaken immediately and legal steps will be taken to make them government reserves.
5. A Ministry of Environment Conservation and Natural Resources will be established. Environment Conservation and Conservation of all natural resources of this country (including bio and mineral resources) and management will come under this Ministry. All departments related to environment, presently scattered among various ministries will be regrouped under this Ministry.
6. In every province, district and within the jurisdiction of every local authority, environmental committees will be established, comprising relevant state officials, representatives of environmental societies, and conservationists. Such committees will be given powers necessary to deal with environmental issues.
Taking the theme "the sustenance of the communal life and development of this country depends on the conservation of environmental resources for long time use", as the basic policy, conservation of environment and natural resources will be done. All public and private development projects will be implemented only after approval by the monitoring committee of this Ministry.
7. Steps will be taken to mould professional conservationists through inclusion of environment as a school subject and organizing degree and Diploma courses at university level.
8. Through providing opportunities to obtain professional qualifications to those engaged in various jobs in the field of environment, enabling them to rise up to the highest positions in this field. A permanent unit of education will be set up in the Ministry, for the purpose of planning all these activities, coordination and implementation.
9. A National Policy and Plan, according to the national requirements, for the conservation and management of the natural resources and environment of this country will be formulated and implemented by the National Policy and Planning Council, with the collaboration of all parties concerned.
10. A National Policy and plan for conservation of wetlands for water conservation, and laws will be formulated and designed to face the water scarcity expected to take place in this century.
11. After selecting lands that need protection in view of their environmental importance under the National Policy and Planning on Land Use, such lands will be declared as reserves in fulfilment of relevant environment process within that area.
Water, reservoirs, tanks and irrigation
1. The process designed to sell the water resources under the name "water management", and the institutions established under that process will be abolished.
2. Water will be treated as a common resource and taking into consideration the drinking, agricultural, hydro electricity, transport, cultural and environmental requirements, a National Water Management Programme will be formulated based on surface and underground water.
3. A giant irrigation development programme with the objective of reconstructing 10,000 small and medium size rural tanks will be implemented within two years.
4. The canal way complex, associated with coastal lowlands previously used for agricultural and transport purposes, but now completely abandoned, will also be urgently reconstructed on priority basis and steps will taken to re-cultivate the large extents of paddy fields that had been abandoned due to inundation with sea water.
5. Steps will be taken to minimise filling of sedimentation in Mahaweli reservoirs and to de-silt sedimentation from every reservoirs.
6. Strong legislation will be enacted to prevent water pollution.
Industrial Reforms and new approaches
1. The Industrial Development Board will be reformed, in order to end the prevailing inefficiency, waste and mismanagement, to raise the standards of the existing industries, to increase the production capacity by identifying areas of new industry and to plan employment opportunities as an urgent national requirement.
2. In the place of unscientific system of starting industries, dividing the whole country into industrial zones under an industrial diversification policy based on essential basic factors of convenient procurement of raw materials, transport, marketing and disposal of waste etc., a crash programme to elevate small, medium and large scale industries, will be implemented within three years.
3. Steps will be taken to obtain international assistance to obtain necessary technology and the experiences of new inventions to raise the standards of our industries, giving priority to obtain the co-operation of the Asian zone, with special attention to Indian and Chinese assistance.
4. In every industrial colony started in the proposed industrial zones at least one small power plant producing a minimum of, using new optional power potentials will be constructed.
5. A programme will be drawn up to export industrial products and to prepare the market for such products. Export promotion units will be instituted in Sri Lankan Foreign embassies and airports, with the collaboration of the private sector, and Commercial Ambassadors will be appointed to selected countries, under the programme.
6. The vocational courses such as NDT/HNDE relating to industrial sphere in the universities and technical colleges will be modernized in accordance with the industrial policy that is being formulated, to suit its requirements.
7. An industrial extension service for small and medium scale industrialists too will be started within the Ministry of Industries within a year in order to resolve issues in industrial development, to minimise environmental problems and to use environment friendly technology.
8. The efficiency of the Research and Promotion units presently under the Ministry of Industries will be enhanced. An Ocean Mineral Resources Research Institute, which has yet received least attention, will be started within the first year.
Measures to uplift local industrialists:
1. In special consideration of the threats to domestic industry through the import of essential industrial products, a Board of Supervision consisted of the Industrial Development Board and representatives of the domestic industries will be appointed to supervise the import of essential industrial raw materials and products and control such industrial imports.
2. A two year tax relief will be granted to industries producing solely for export using over 75% of domestic raw materials.
3. Steps will be taken to protect domestic industrialists from foreign industrialists inclined to produce stereo type substitutes for products of the local industrialists. Necessary legislation for the purpose will be brought without delay and the existing laws and conditions will be specifically implemented.
4. Action will be taken to maintain the high interest rates prevailing for local industrialists at low levels within the forthcoming 2 years, and necessary tax relief will also be granted.
5. In order to prevent all industrialists paying higher interest rates than when they obtained the loans, action will be taken to adjust payment of interest at rates prevailed at the time of obtaining the loan.
6. Steps will be taken to persuade and give incentives to local industrialists to open industries and services in foreign countries.
7. A new project service will be introduced through a labour technology officer - service for small and domestic handicrafts; a special loan scheme to provide market and financial assistance to such industries will be started through State Banks.
8. Steps will be taken to install a Special Task Force with the objective of eradicating corruption, irregularities and inefficiency in all state institutions, corporations and boards presently possessed by the government.
1. State intervention in the garment industry will be expanded and extensive transport, energy, technological and communication facilities will be provided.
2. Industries manufacturing raw materials and equipment necessary for the garment industry will be started.
3. An Institute of Export Products Standards, that will be guided by international criteria is to be established to protect the quality of the garments. A standard certificate will be issued by this institute in terms of international export criteria.
4. Steps will be taken to introduce new fashions in garments and promote technological and craft expertise.
5. Steps will be taken to reopen all closed down factories that can be started again.
6. Treating the present threat to abolish the quota system as a serious issue, steps will be taken to protect the competitive market, increasing productivity.
1. Action will be taken to appoint a Tourist Planning Board under the National Policy and Planning Council consisting of persons with experts, intellectuals, archaeologists, environment conservationists and tourism professionalists with experience in the field.
2. By categorising coastal and hill country parks as environmental tourist zones and archaeological tourist zones, without causing harm to country's cultural values, ethics and natural heritage, selected special tourist centres within them will be further developed.
Steps will also be taken to develop local industries, handicrafts and markets associated with them.
3. An extensive programme to attract tourists to Sri Lanka will be commenced through special units affiliated to embassies.
4. In order to develop environmental tourist projects botanical gardens such as Yala and Sinharaja will be made more attractive places while safeguarding their security.
5. Steps to curb anti-social activities taking place in the sphere of tourism and stern action against certain harassments caused to tourists, will be taken, and a special unit of investigation will be established for the purpose.
Internal and Foreign trade
1. The Ministry of Trade will be totally overhauled and brought under a National Board of Commercial Operations appointed by the National Policy and Planning Council.
2. An Export Import policy targeting the realization of targets of rapid economic development will be formulated, and a new import tariff policy will be designed.
3. A consumer protection programme for consumer goods, including essential food items, will be implemented to fulfil basic needs of the people.
4. Agreements that had been entered into with foreign companies in respect of resources considered as national heritage will be re-viewed. If any such agreements adversely affect the economy, steps will be taken to revise them after discussion with the relevant parties.
5. In importing low cost products from foreign markets steps will be taken to protect the market of parallel local products.
6. All Acts, Funds and Authorities including the VAT Act now in force in relation to Local and Foreign Trade and Consumer Protection Authority Act will be fully reviewed and necessary legislation will be enacted by Parliament on the recommendations of Commercial Operations Council in relation to development and protection of Local and Foreign Trade.
Management of Public Enterprises
* The railways, cluster bus companies, petroleum, electricity, ports & airports, water and state banks will not be privatized.
* They will be managed as independent commercial enterprises, free from political interference and bureaucratic bottle-necks. They will be given commercial autonomy through a new law on Strategic Enterprise Management and will be managed through an independent agency, the Strategic Enterprise Management Agency.
* Restructuring of non-strategic enterprises will be carried out transparently, to attract the best investors for the national economy and to maximize the benefits of such reforms.
Budgetary Policy Taxation
Taxation will be simplified to generate the required revenue. Government revenue in relation to GDP has declined to 14 % in 2003, due to corrupt tax amnesties, numerous exemptions, generous concessions and a rundown tax administration. The current level of taxation is inadequate.
The overall taxation strategy will include -
* An efficient tax administration
* An uncomplicated tax system - a simple VAT system, a comprehensive coverage for excise taxation, a practical system of income tax and a rational approach to taxation in international trade.
* The prevailing complex tax system and their excessive burden will be minimized and in particular the debit tax which has imposed a burden on the banking system as well as customers will be corrected.
Public Expenditure and Managing Budget Deficits
A policy based, sector oriented budget allocation, linked to performance and out put will be the basis of the National Budget. Public investment will be strengthened, wasteful expenditure eliminated, while public spending will be constantly reviewed.
The budget deficit will be reduced to a sustainable level through increased revenue and efficient management of expenditure.
Compression of capital expenditure on development for the purpose of reducing the budget deficit, as done by the UNF government, will be stopped.
POLICY FORMULATION and IMPLEMENTATION
The present practice of relying on Committee systems to formulate and implement policies has reduced the efficiency of Government due to lack of ownership and involvement by the implementing agencies. There is also no effective institution to coordinate speedy implementation.
The Freedom Alliance Government will set up a National Council for Economic Development (NCED), which will be a permanent secretariat with the highest level of political authority, in order to formulate and implement national economic policies The NCED will also coordinate donor activities and provide a forum for the private sector to take up their concerns.
The NCED will promote Private-Public Partnerships in policy formulation and it will become a conduit for regular dialogue with the government.
Finance, credit and Insurance
1. Non privatization of public utility institutions including State Banks for whatever reason is considered as the basic policy of the national economic programme.
2. A new tax policy will be implemented with intent to minimise the tax burden cast upon the people in view of the complexities of the present tax system.
3. A programme with legal provision will be formulated to recover loans obtained by business entrepreneurs who have defaulted.
4. Urgent steps will be taken to defeat exchange and tax frauds and bring them before the law and to curb such offences.
5. Steps will be taken under State intervention (using State Banks) to expand financial institutions giving financial assistance to uplift economy at rural level.
Linking foreign investments with the national economic programme
1. A new Ministry will be created for the purpose of attracting foreign investments with the objective of minimising the damage done to the economy by unplanned investment and for mutual advantage.
2. The new Ministry of Investment will encourage foreign investment by strengthening diplomatic relations, providing tax relief, Bank facilities and emigration and immigration facilities.
3. Developments programmes of foreign investors will be evaluated.
4. Compliance with the common law, Labour Acts and Regulations, Exchange regulations, tax and tariff laws will be made a compulsory condition for investment.
New advances in the sphere of science and technology, and basic solutions for the power crisis.
1. Scientific and technological research in the country will be expanded and action will be taken under this scheme to raise the present allocation of 0.2% of GDP up to 1% within an year.
2. Steps will be taken to formulate a programme to use the new inventions of various researchers and technologists in their researches already made for national requirements productively.
The researches and inventions of researchers, technologists and other citizens will be evaluated and foreign scholarships, awards and promotions, will be given as incentives.
3. Treating recycling as a special and an essential matter, action will be taken to implement it in every sphere possible.
4. A programme will be implemented with the objective of uplifting science education and action will be taken thereby to defeat unscientific ideas and myths existing in the spheres of education and in social life.
As energy is connected to every stage production, action will be taken to resolve the power crisis treating it as a priority issue vital for community life. A new Central Energy Authority affiliated to the Ministry of Power & Energy Authority, responsible for management of power generation and alternative sources of energy will be established.
1. Under this Authority environmental, scientific and technological knowledge will be utilized to study the already identified and unidentified energy potentials.
2. Action will be initiated to curb misuse and wastage in production and distribution of energy, and essential technologies and management techniques will be introduced for the purpose.
3. Specially in the sphere of electricity, steps will be taken to add to the national grid, 60 abandoned small grids out of over 500 small grids still maintained, after identification, that existed before giving national grid supplies. In addition to that state patronage will be provided on a concessionary basis to construct small power grids island wide wherever possible.
4. Steps will be taken to construct a new optional power grid through small and medium scale new power units, and wind, sea waves and diesel plants and power plants using coir refuse, saw dust, rice husk, sugar refuse timber and coal to reach generation of about 3000 MW, under the supervision of the Central Energy Authority.
5. In addition steps will be taken to encourage electricity economy equipment, minimise day time occasions of large scale electricity consumption, promote new introductions in construction etc.
6. Steps will be taken to implement a project aimed at supplying electricity to every household, that does not have the facility now within 5 years.
06 Two Year Rapid Infrastructure Development
* 100,000 houses for urban shanty dwellers through the Real Estate Exchange programme. (REEL)
* A 200,000 housing unit programme for public servants, migrant workers, plantation workers, teachers, service personnel, the fisher community and those affected by the war in the North and the East. This will commence with the participation of Commercial Banks, Employee's Trust Fund (ETF), National Savings Bank (NSB), State Mortgage and Investment Bank (SMIB) and private sector companies and property developers.
* Dedicated Economic Centres initiated in 1999-2000, will be extended to include Kandapola, Wellawaya, Bibile, Denipitiya, Matara, Thanamalwila, Hingurakgoda, Vavuniya, Jaffna and Ampara.
* Industrial Parks will be set up in Wariyapola and Horana, while special new IT parks such as the Arthur C Clark Technology Town will be established in Kurunegala, Matara, Pugoda and Jaffna.
* Gem Trading Exchanges to be established in Ratnapura for cutting and marketing of gems, precious and semi precious stones.
* The Colombo South Port development project will commence while the implementation of the BIA terminal project and the air cargo village will be accelerated.
* As new provincial development centres Prawn farming zones, tourist zones, textile promotion zones, fruit and vegetable production and processing zones, dedicated handicraft and jewellery centres at village level, will be established in several districts including the North and East. The State will provide the technological know-how and skills-development services and access to markets.
* Twenty Five modern farming villages will be established to promote organic agriculture for value-added exports, while the private sector will be invited to set-up partnerships in these enterprises. Seed capital will be provided by the government.
* Lands belonging to the Janatha Estate Development Board, Sri Lanka State Plantations Corporation and Elkaduwa Plantations will be distributed among 75,000 landless families on a 99 year lease basis, to create bankable assistance and thereby promote self employment through smallholder plantations.
* The Bridges and roads project will be accelerated eg. Ratnapura - Balangoda - Badulla road, Matara-Colombo express way, Colombo-Kandy highway project, Colombo outer circular road network, Katunayake-Anuradhapura road. However, in implementing expressways, environmental problems and difficulties faced by people will be resolved. Steps will be taken to ensure that no party will be adversely affected.
* Work on the flood control and the Hydro Power Projects. The Kalu Ganga multi-purpose development project in Ratnapura and the Sinharaja foothills will commence. Plans that were drawn up in 1999-2000 for construction of the Kerawelapitiya power plant and the coal power plant at Hambantota (formerly planned for Norochcholai) and the upper Kothmale hydro power plant will be implemented on an accelerated basis.
* The plans prepared for the Beira Lake water frontage, with recreation and leisure zones, together with the cleansing of the Colombo canal system will be implemented also on an accelerated basis.
07 Continuing Education Reforms
The basic aim of education should be to produce a child, who loves his country, and who has a widespread knowledge of his country's identity, heritage, history and its culture and an understanding of the various streams of cultures in the world and equipped with modern knowledge and full of skills.
For this purpose, a coordinated programme of work by the ministries of education & culture, communication and health will be implemented. In building the national economy, production of a generation of youth with proper understanding and sensitivity complete with physical and mental capacity is an essential factor. An active society complete with knowledge should be considered as the main source of generating capital in the country.
The wisdom of the people of our country will be uninterruptedly developed based on experiences of the golden eras of Sri Lankan history and in terms of the huge changes that have taken place in the world. Citizens of all levels in the society will be encouraged to enhance their knowledge. Our country will be transformed into a society studying all disciplines of knowledge.
For that purpose
1. Providing education entirely free of charge is a responsibility of the state. Therefore as a first step the right to education of all children will be ensured.
2. Categorising schools on religious or ethnic basis will be terminated, and action will be taken to take the school system to a common stream. Opportunities will be provided for a child to have his/her education in any school of his/her choice in his/her mother tongue and perform religions observances, customs and rituals.
3. While taking immediate steps to stop planned pruning of education, the education reforms initiated in 1998 will be continued with the total collaboration of all relevant persons. The problem of the children who have been pushed into a situation of competition, taking into consideration especially shortage of teachers in rural areas, and other problems including uneven distribution of resources, will be addressed on a priority basis.
At the same time steps will be taken to save the teacher from the state of discontentment due to non-recognition by the society and raise him to a position of honour engaged in an exclusive social mission.
4. As the English Language has become a bridge to access the modern world, steps will be taken to accelerate and improve the teaching of English from Grade I in order to enable the child to face challenges of the competitive world. English medium instruction will be introduced as an option, in stages.
5. Pre-school education will be made compulsory in the National Education process. 6. A comprehensive programme aimed at eliminating the current popular school competition which has become a serious issue will be formulated, and in order to address the issue, first it is expected to start a chain of Schools island- wide with A/L classes on a priority basis.
For the purpose selected schools with shortcomings will be developed on a national priority basis.
7. Urgent steps will be taken to uplift comparatively weak educational facilities available especially in the plantations, areas of war conflict and difficult rural areas.
8. In order to remedy the shortage of teachers in Sinhala Tamil and English and other subject spheres, steps will be taken to recruit unemployed graduates and Diploma holders and appoint them to schools after a special training.
9. History and literature will be included in the school curriculum and action will be taken to remove deep-routed misgivings on the subjects. The history of Sri Lanka will be taught in an effort to rekindle national pride, patriotism in the student community.
10. The Education Ordinance of 1939 will be amended to reflect a progressive and visionary programme for educational development.
1. Steps will be taken to establish 6 new universities in the following subject fields:
i.University of Technology in Energy and Bio-resourcesii.University of Vocational Technology iiiNational University of Fine Arts and MediaivUniversity of Oceanology and FisheriesvNational University of Medicine and HealthviUniversity of Educational Science 2. Relevant partnerships will be established with recognized and reputed higher education institutes overseas.
3. Currently in Sri Lanka degrees are conferred approximately in 30 vocational fields. After conducting a survey in non-degree vocational spheres a programme to confer degrees on all vocations that are eligible for degree status will be implemented.
4. Urgent steps will be taken to provide full residential facilities to all university and higher education students, teaching and non-academic staffs.
5. The political rights and the right of organization of all students of higher education will be recognized and representatives of student organizations will be included in the administration of institutions relating to higher education and student activities.
6. A national policy of employment will be formulated integrating the skills of all university graduates within the process of nation building.
7. The existing University Acts will be amended to incorporate the new vision of educational reform giving autonomy to universities.
08 Information Technology
In the forward march of Sri Lanka as a nation particularly in the face of intemperance by imperialist elements need for the induction of information technology in to the economic process in its fullest sense will is acutely felt. A programme will be put in to operation to best or benefits of IT and on the society a whole.
Development of the industry of Information Technology
1. The existing telephone systems will be further expanded to give telephone facilities to a larger number of families in Sri Lanka. Specially for mobile telephone services, they will be encouraged to use the state-of-the-art and the most profitable technology. Cost of use will be brought down by promoting competition among the mobile and radio telephone service suppliers. By establishing internet telephone facilities at least in Post offices, the facility of obtaining less expensive foreign calls will be expanded.
2. Telephone communication at reasonable rates to every place possible will be expanded and private sector active support will be obtained for the purpose.
3. The government will intervene to provide necessary concessions to develop computer and communication industry. Incentives will be given specially for new advances relevant in the local industrial sphere.
Expanding information technology educational opportunities.
1. New courses of education will be formulated based on the educational requirements revealed in the course of using information technology in the economic process, and an educational programme which includes fields of computer communication and management will be implemented with the co-operation of the private sector.
2. The government will intervene to import essential knowledge in information technology to all University and school teachers.
3. Steps will be taken to provide computer and internet facilities necessary for all universities and to link information technology to every course as necessary.
4. Steps will be taken to provide computer and internet facilities parallel with a programme to expand electricity and telephone facilities.
5. The government will intervene to formulate a programme to be investigative in software use and develop them and steps will be taken to introduce free courses identifying resource contributors at community level associated with school resources.
6. Information Technology will be systematically introduced into the school and university curriculum.
State Activities and Information Technology
1. E-Governance facilities will be very systematically used for state activities and for the convenience of the people it will be expanded to the sphere of E-Medicine as well.
2. Citizen information such as voters, including births, deaths and marriages will be computerised and a data base will be maintained uninterruptedly.
3. Steps will be taken to impart a wide knowledge in information technology to all people's representatives as well as front rank officials in the sphere of administration.
4. The government will actively intervene to perform these activities systematically and successfully and also to secure expertise knowledge from other countries.
Physical and mental health is a very important factor in economic and social development of a country. But in our country today, the entire health service linked to the good health of the people is in a state of neglect and is collapsing from day to day causing serious problems for the people. It reflects in all sectors of the society from children, pregnant mothers up to elders.
Therefore urgent steps will be taken to make it a public service removing all basic shortcomings.
One fact clearly visible when you investigate into the state of health service today is its limited resources and more over, the collapse of the whole health structure and specially the shortcomings in management. Therefore without introducing a strong management, replacing the weak, the problem cannot be resolved just by providing resources.
The unsuccessful effort to increase resources in major hospitals, allowing the primary community health services to collapse, will further aggravate the problem. Therefore the essential priority would be to build an effective and productive health care system.
1. As an initial step towards this end, a Health Service Reorganization, Commission in order to identify employee problems and recommend solutions, and submit proposals to make the health service a people's service again, under the full responsibility of the government, will be appointed under the National Policy and Planning Council. The commission shall constitute of veterans in the health service, medical professionals and other intellectuals.
2. The amount allocated for health services in the past two years has been significantly lowered in comparison to the amounts allocated from 1994 to 2000. Steps will be taken to increase it to at least 2.5% of the GDP in the first two years.
3.Eliminating the present drug shortage in government hospitals will be made the responsibility of the government. Steps will be taken to appoint a National Drug Specialists Committee to import drugs of prescribed standards as recommended by the committee.
The State Pharmaceuticals Corporation and the Osu Sala system will be developed and modernised.
4.The on going privatization process and the proposed privatization in the health service will be immediately stopped and the activities of the hospitals already under private sector and other activities relating to health will be brought under government supervision. The Act already proposed will be improved and urgently implemented.
5. Priority will be given to both healing and prevention of diseases and mobile clinics will be held at village level. The community health service which will be very important in this connection will be uplifted.
6. Educational programmes against the usage of drugs and abuse of liquor and cigarettes etc. detrimental to health will be implemented with the assistance of the community organizations.
7. In order to rejuvenate indigenous medical systems, including Unani, indigenous Ayurvedic physicians and specialists will be brought under one roof and necessary steps will be taken on their opinions.
1. As housing issue is also an acute problem among the other basic problems of the country, action will be taken under short and long term plans to solve the housing issue. Finding a solution to the housing problem being considered a basic responsibility of the government, a comprehensive national programme will be implemented to give a house to every family.
2. Steps will be taken to totally solve the problem of huts and shanty dwellers and those living in line rooms, and the houseless.
3 A State institution will be established to encourage private house builders by introducing low interest rate housing loans and providing essential raw materials and equipment at concessionary rates.
11 Transport and highways Roads
1. Paying special attention to the road complex, not properly maintained or controlled under a suitable plan at present, an efficient programme of road maintenance, will be formulated in due course. Steps will be taken to obtain participation of private sector too.
2. Steps will be taken to use concrete technology also for road construction wherever possible.
3. When constructing new roads and in the reconstruction of existing roads, steps will be taken to do it including all necessary features that should be there for a road, with pipelines also if required.
1.Transport will be considered an essential service in the development process, and direction will be the responsibility of the government. Steps will be taken to uplift the presently weakened state transport services.
2.In order to give a maximum service to the people through public and private bus services, the Road Passenger Transport Authority will be converted to a formal institution with private and public sector joint representation.
3. The bus and rail road transport covering day and night, and also the main roads and by-roads, will be operated on a common time table depending on the necessity and the private bus operators too will be made to conform to this timetable.
5. In order to remedy the bus shortage in the North and East that was under the threat of war and other rural areas, all repairable buses in the government depots will be repaired and put into use urgently.
6. A concessionary system of fees for the clergy, disabled and the pensioners, and a rail-bus combined season ticket for identified passengers, including government servants, will be introduced.
7. A common vehicle parking complex will be constructed associated with densely populated cities.
8. The Railway Authority Act will be repealed and the railway service will be completely reorganized to make it a more efficient service. Passenger transport will be given priority with sufficient expansion for goods transport also.
9. Special investigation committees to inquire into public complaints in the transport sector will be started at regional level.
12 Arts and Culture
1. A scientific programme will be implemented for the conservation of all art heritages and creative works of art.
2. Speedy action will be taken to establish an academy of drama and cinematology equipped with facilities of international standard. Assistance of foreign and local instructors in the field and local veteran artistes will be solicited in lunching teaching activities at this academy.
3. A pension scheme will be guaranteed to artistes who have made an outstanding contribution in the literary and cultural fields and to those who are of an advanced age.
4. Steps will be taken to establish cultural centres at regional level in order to bring together various arts media before various community groups so that the arts and the cultural heritages of the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities can be further fostered.
5. A special programme will be formulated by the government to provide monetary assistance to artistes which is a problem that they face at present in their creative activities and when releasing their creations, to save them from exploitation by businessmen.
6. Steps will be taken to build drama and cinema halls with advanced modern equipment and stages, libraries and reading halls relating to the field of art, covering every regional town.
13. Ancient Heritage
1. The government will act considering it as one of its leading responsibilities to protect all ancient places, whether religiously important or not, that have become Sri Lanka's historical heritages, conserve them and ensure their existence for posterity as a national heritage. The present destruction of archaeological monuments with the involvement of Western countries will be stopped and steps will be taken to protect that heritage through more scientific methodologies.
2. Stern action will be taken to stop destruction, sale or purchasing of archaeological monuments that have become part of the ancient heritage and legislation will be brought to impose heavy punishment to offenders.
3. Action will be taken to change the attitudes of the people towards ancient places, by giving them a good understanding about the places, and providing facilities for them to see those places. A more systematic programme will be designed to prevent causing damage to those places when people come to see them.
1. The right of the people to obtain information without hindrance will be safeguarded by the government. The government will not under any circumstances, act in contravention of their right to access of information.
The right of the individual to operate private media institutions will not be interfered with by the government in any manner what so ever.
* The state media will shoulder the task of modernizing the society setting a strong example for the private media as well, and especially the electronic media will be made a giant media of communication in the task of building a humane society.
* Media practices for children will be maintained with special care, and a code of ethics will be issued to prevent media practices that would have unfavourable impact on the child's mind.
* Full media freedom will be guarantee and special programme will be put in place to ensure that every responsible individual in the media field would have better sense of understanding and responsibility as far as the media is concerned.
1. A National Sports Policy and a programme with long term targets with justice to all sports will be formulated as maintenance and development of sports is entirely the responsibility of the government.
2. Steps will be taken to prevent private entrepreneurs intervening in sports with business objectives. A Sports Development Fund will be established to entertain private sector donations for the betterment of sports. Providing financial assistance for sports will be a responsibility of the government.
3. Immediate steps will be taken to eliminate all political influence, frauds and corruption from the ministry down to the lowest sports clubs and associations and all sports clubs and organizations will be reorganized under a code of new administrative regulations and discipline.
4. Advanced sports schools with trained instructors covering both urban and rural areas, will be started in addition to sufficient playgrounds stadiums, and sports equipment.
5. After having identified the talents of those clever in sports from school level, training programmes will be formulated with the objective of elevating them to international level, and instructors will be appointed.
6. Care for sportsmen (both male and female), insurance, monetary and material facilities will be the responsibility of the government. Further, a satisfactory salary, other allowances and housing facilities and sports equipment will be supplied to sportsmen. When they retire from sports the right to a pension too will be guaranteed.
7. A Cricket Academy of international standard will be established to train cricketers and action will be taken to obtain the advice and services of veteran cricketers.
8. Training and incentive programmes will be implemented to uplift both international level sports, available in Sri Lanka, and regional sports, giving special attention to sports like "Elle" and Volley Ball.
9. A National Sports Training school will be established to train trainers.
10. All undue political influence in sports will be eliminated and veteran sportsmen will be given preference to hold office in Sports Associations.
16 Good Governance
Sri Lankan people are disillusioned with the State Governance and politicians in Sri Lanka.
This is due to selfishness, greed for power, immoral and unethical conduct, corrupt and fraudulent practices etc., on their part. The Freedom Alliance considers it their primary responsibility to divorce politics and politicians from this abysmal state and transform politics into an honourable profession accountable to the people and make politician a disciplined and exemplary public worker. 1. Steps will be taken to stop political appointments and political victimization immediately.
2. Prescribed schemes of procedures will be followed free of any political interference in the matter of appointment of Secretaries to Ministries, Board of Directors of State Corporations, including other public offices. Creation of posts and grant of privileges on considerations of relationship to people's representatives will be abolished forthwith.
3. In addition to annual declaration of assets of all people's representatives and government officials, a programme of inspection of such assets will be implemented. Whether a complaint is received or not, assets of all people's representatives will be annually inspected and reports thereon will be published for public information.
4. Transparency will be observed in making all government purchases and awarding contracts with the right to challenge any such transactions in the court of law being granted to all citizens. If there happen to be any discounts in respect of any transactions, it will be made compulsory by legislation to report such transactions and give the benefit of any discount to the State.
5. Speedy action will be taken to minimise incidence of corruption and wastage in the public sector. Action will also be taken to prevent irregularities and wastage in the purchase of vehicles and valuable items during foreign trips and in the use of state resources including the consumption of fuel.
6. All purchases for the state sector will be effected subject to approval of a Board with full powers. For this purpose, approval of the National Policy and Planning Council will be needed. Any opportunities to make large scale purchases at Ministry level will be abolished.
7. Action will be initiated to take into custody all illegal and destructive weapons in the possession of groups with political links and any other groups. An urgent operation will be launched to disarm underground and anti-social groups during the first year.
8. A full powered Employment Commission will be appointed to ensure that all government employments are provided only on merit basis, and that political interference intervention is totally eliminated. The candidate's right to challenge any irregularity will be legally guaranteed.
17 Immediate Relief for the people
1. Concessions for public and private sector employees i. Under the construction of new houses by the government, action will be taken to provide houses to private employees who comprise about 90% of the total number of employees in the country to be credited from the Employee's Provident Fund.
ii. To provide new houses to government servants a new concessionary housing loan scheme will be formulated.
iii. Security of employment of home guards will be guaranteed and anomalies in the salary scale of Armed Forces and Police personnel will be removed and action will also be taken to promote their welfare.
2. Relief to cultivators
i. Action will be taken to conduct a further survey on unpaidloans to state and private banks by farmers due to loss ofcrops or unexpected low harvests, and waive off balances on an identified priority basis taking into consideration their income situation as well.
ii. The reduced fertilizer subsidy will be restored.
iii. Special measures of relief such as seeds and agro-equipments at concessionary rates will be supplied to cultivate crops identified as of national importance, and purchasing centres will be established.
iv. A guaranteed price scheme will be introduced for paddy and other cop varieties.
3. Provision of milk for primary school children
4. Relief for fishermen
i. Steps will be taken to find solutions for the problems that the fishermen have to face continuously in deep sea fishing by discussing with the Indian government.
ii. A special relief loan scheme will be formulated to purchase fishing boats and equipment.
5. Samurdhi programme will continue to be in operation in accordance with the vision and programme begun in 1995. Curtailment of Samurdhi benefit effected recently will be reviewed and families that are eligible to receive benefit under the samurdhi programme will be granted such relief.
6. Reduction of infant milk food prices Immediate steps will be taken to reduce infant milk food by enhancing local milk production and after a revaluation done with the private sector.
7. A general bus service for school children will be re-instituted.
8. Reduction of medicine prices Steps will be taken through government intervention to reduce the priceof essential drugs by reconsidering the import and distribution of drugswhich has become a monopoly of the multinational companies.
9. A consumer protectionist programme will be introduced for essential foods and services
10. Special relief to handicraftsman After the identification of handicraftsmen with a Sri Lankan identity, who have been gradually neglected, capable of contributing to the tourism industry also, State will intervene to promote their production process through a system of co-operative societies.
11. Tariff concessions for agricultural implements Tariff for agricultural machines and machinery and implements will be removed without causing harm to the local production. Ability to purchase at low cost will be enhanced.
12. Ending graduate unemployment As the problem of graduate unemployment continues to grow, an urgent programme will be formulated to solve it. A national policy ensuring employment for everyone coming out from universities after graduation will be formulated. Employment opportunities for 25,000 graduates will be provided within three months in a wide range of government services.
13. Employment for non graduates 5,000 school leavers will be trained as field officers in the agriculture sector, live-stock development, and marketing and in the prevention and control of alcohol, tobacco and drug use.
They will also be trained in special welfare programmes for women and children. Another 10,000 school leavers will be trained as tourist guides under an established scheme. An accelerated skills development programme for 25,000 school leavers will be put in place with the assistance of the private sector, the NDTF and Samurdhi Banks. Such training would equip them for employment in the private sector.
14 Salary anomalies in the public service will be corrected immediately.
15. Prevailing pension anomalies will be examined and corrective actions will be initiated.
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