|Monday, 16 August 2004|
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For quite sometime we have been having rural development programs for alleviating poverty schemes for generating self-employment, through the presence of rural banks, but still poverty exists and youth unrest prevails. This problem must be taken seriously because a large number of youth are educated and wish to earn enough to live comfortably. The unemployment has risen to a large extent, and about 1.4 million of educated youth have no jobs.
The rural youth are hard working and unlike urban dwellers appreciate cultural values, do not spend too much time and money on entertainment. They are committed to their work, they possess much talent and are creative and conceive novel ideas, which can be very successful. The literacy rate is very high facilitating success in entrepreneurship.
The active support of the Government and the assistance of the relevant institution of development and construction at national level should come together to establish these village level construction companies, so that they could be qualified to get Government construction tenders.
This will create employment for the excess workforce and unemployed youth. Rural youth having completed their secondary education await opportunities in the job market. They can be trained further in this skill and will be absorbed into these youth companies which can be called village construction companies - VCC.
The national level planners need a completely new pipeline to reach this youth for their own progress and make them handle their companies with dignity and honour.
The correct guidance and motivation with financial assistance and managerial training should be channelled to these primary companies at the very start.
These organisational structures would come out with a workforce of skilled, unskilled, supervisory, technical, managerial, etc. in implementing the work. The youth need the technical know-how and the capital investments to start with their capabilities, honesty and dedication should be made use of, so that both the village company and society benefit.
The concept of the white collar jobs, descent salaries and the social dignity are some of the factors, which are pressuring the youth mind. This approach should have a consideration in the new set up.
The Government should assist and monitor these companies with other youth services institutions and national level construction authorities, to gain registration for pre qualification of contractors and forwarding tenders for the constructions at village, regional and national level.
When it is planned well, the advantages will be:
Assurance of employment to youth
Project implementation in rural areas
National development with youth participation
Increase their economics standard
The following two aspects are very important:
Policy decision at top management level to include youth
Schedule the action for smooth running
Implementing agency should take the following decisions:
Create opportunities for rural youth having completed their secondary education to form the companies.
Raise funds for the village construction company (V.C.C.)
System to offer Government construction tenders for these V.C.C.s
Further training in Technical/ managerial finance and other relevant skills for these youngsters.
Supervision and control, by monitoring and evaluation unit.
MAHINDA WEEERAKOON - Kandy
The results of the above examination was notified to the candidates recently. Of the 4 lakhs of candidates who sat for this examination 13,000 names who have qualified had been sent to the Ministry of Public Administration. But the answer scripts of this examination will not be rescrutinized. Minds of many a candidate who sat for this examination and who feel that they should get more marks than what they were notified can be at rest if there is rescrutinization. I myself know of a particular candidate who has sat for this examination has got 121 marks but is sure that he should get 155 marks, since he has got his answers verified by a qualified panel. I know of several people who are in the same predicament.
Moreover anybody can meddle with the marks. Everyone is amenable to error. So there can be mistakes in marking answer scripts. Therefore I suggest that papers should be rescrutinized if candidates request for it. A fee can be levied for this from the candidates. This will be fair by the candidates. I also propose that all 13,000 of those who have qualified should be absorbed to Government service because the Government's plan is to provide employment to 30,000 A/L and O/L qualified youths. Those who sat for this examination are all O/L and A/L qualified people.
The UPFA Government providing jobs to unemployed graduates is a long felt need.
Credit should go to the UPFA Government for it. I hope that the Government and relevant officials will look into this matter too.
V. S. KARUNARATHNE - Maharagama
Ananda Pilimatalavuva's article on 'Whither Trinity in the new century?' (DN Aug 12) is a timely wake-up call and he arrives at the compelling issue at hand through a well researched study of the travels and travails of the school.
Surely, it is imperative that the Board of Governors of the school should comprise eminent professionals and captains of the industry.
There is a wealth of distinguished Old Trinitians who should be on the Board, so that the Board of Governors of Trinity College, Kandy will be able to match for quality that of the Old Timers who used to be the Archbishops of Canterbury, York, the Deans of Durham, Gloucester, the Master of Balliol, the Governor General of Canada and so many other dignitaries.
That was before the management of the school was handed over in 1940 to an independent Board of Governors consisting of notable men, including Old Boys like Professor L.O. Abeyaratne and Dr. Handy if just two names would illustrate the point and a few churchmen who had their thumbs squarely on the affairs and needs of the school.
SHARM DE ALWIS - Kiribathgoda
Reference the news item of Aug. 10 it is a good thing to construct flyover bridges at the busy places mentioned in the news item. More and more such bridges are the answer to the increasing traffic which is keeping added to the already heavy traffic.
It is estimated that about 300 three-wheelers are put to the roads everyday and what about the cars and especially latest brands of motor cycles, cars, buses, tractors, containers and push cycles.
But at the same time, it is best to keep in mind the increasing pedestrian traffic with the increasing population. They too should and must be provided safe passage on pavements and especially across roads on pedestrian crossings. Today far too many pedestrians die on the roads due to lack of pedestrian crossings and humps and warning signals. The Road Development Authority has to take the responsibility to their safety too.
There are old, handicapped, blind, mothers with babes in arms and also parents with children being led across the road and women with purdah who too should be protected.
Merely copying Singapore for flyovers only will not help for they have provided for the pedestrian traffic to be safely catered to, and catered for, and therefore the pedestrians should be protected from inhuman machine owners.
V. K. B. RAMANAYAKE -Maharagama
I am 69-years of age and have been reading Daily News and Observer since my school days.
Up to recent past, I have recovered part of the money spent to purchase papers by selling old papers.
Now the old papers fetch a very low price of only Rs. 5 per kilo.
It is difficult to sell even at that price. Collectors say that they cannot sell old papers due to importation. If it is true why should the Government allow such imports and waste valuable foreign exchange when old papers in plenty are available in the country.
When I inquired from the collecting centers, they say that sometimes old papers are being imported by narcotic dealers to bring in drugs inside paper bundles.
If it is true the authorities should start a full investigation.
Whatever the reason poor readers are greatly inconvenienced and it is the duty of the officials to stop importation of not only old newspapers but also of all other items available in this country.
For example why should the Government allow import of biscuits when high quality biscuits are available in this country and the industry is now well developed to employ a large number of Sri Lankans.
DAVID WICKRAMARACHCHI - Batuwandara
Day in day out we hear and read of the lamentations of the pensioners in the print media. It appears to be that the articulate ones are few and far between and, most are hapless and all are voiceless. Even the articulate ones are unable to move the powers that be to obtain a fair deal.
What is relevant is the inability of the pensioners to make both ends meet. Current staff enjoy the privilege of having their pay upwardly revised periodically. The frequency and the quantum appears to depend on the strategic position of the segment in the National Economy.
It may not be necessary to list out those who are successful and those who are not.
However, it may not be out of context to allude to the pension rights of the people's representatives. Their qualifying service span is short; quantum is the maximum payable to any public servant who has sweated for over 30 years and their pension is effectively indexed.
Highest in the country is entitled to a lifetime privilege of drawing the same amount as if in office. Those who serve the people deserve it.
So do the people. It is the pension that ensures independence to the recipient to continue to lead that dignified life he/she is accustomed to when in harness. It ensures respect from not only the society at large but even the inner family.
Fear of the future is effectively removed by the forthcoming lifelong pension sufficient enough to lead a decent existence.
Assured income helps in many ways. That income to be useful must be sufficient to meet the rising cost of living and the falling rupee value.
The underlying reason for any upward revision of salaries is the real life economic factors viz the cost of living and the rupee value. This affects everybody without any exceptional cushioning.
What is attributed as reasonable for increasing the emoluments of the current employees should also hold good and be used to give a commensurate increase in their pensions. Current staff is earning their emoluments. Pensioners have already earned and in most cases in addition contributed for same.
Ad hoc provisions have been one of the root causes for the unwillingness to accommodate the pensioners. Not only should the pension fund be built up but also be lucratively invested or at least the notional additive must be there if the State is utilizing the fund.
Those who fail to provide or save for the rainy day will have to lament forever. This applies to individuals as well as the State.
Pensioners have a reasonable right to expect their employers to look after them in their penultimate stage of their life. It is part of the contract of employment if viewed in the correct perspective and if we go by what is being done on and off and in bits and pieces.
The employer has a responsibility and the contract is still binding.
R. SUNTHARALINGAM - Urumpirai
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