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Youth Public Proposal on Systemic Development of Sri Lanka

Understanding the need to record and support the lobbying process for the collective demands of Sri Lanka’s 2022 civic struggle, The Hype Policy Tank appointed a Sub-Committee to compile The ‘Youth Public Proposal on Systemic Development of Sri Lanka’. The document formulated from data gathered from the Gota-Go-Gama, was reviewed by a panel of young development practitioners and will then be launched online together with the Citizens Forum of Gota-Go-Gama on the 22nd of May 2022 at 6.00 pm through a Facebook Live session.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ 2022 සිවිල් අරගලයේ සාමූහික ඉල්ලීම් ලේඛනගත කිරීමේ සහ එම ඉල්ලීම් දිනාගැනීමට සහාය දැක්වීමේ අවශ්‍යතාවය අවබෝධ කර ගනිමින්, හයිප් බුද්ධි මණ්ඩලය විසින් ‘ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ පද්ධතිමය සංවර්ධනය පිළිබඳ තරුණ මහජන යෝජනාව’ සම්පාදනය කිරීම සඳහා අනු කමිටුවක් පත් කරන ලදී. ගෝඨා-ගෝ-ගමෙහි රැස් කරන ලද දත්ත ඇසුරෙන් සකස් කරන ලද මෙම යෝජනාව, තරුණ සංවර්ධන වෘත්තිකයින්ගේ මණ්ඩලයක් විසින් සමාලෝචනය කරන ලද අතර, පසුව 2022 මැයි 22 වන දින සවස 6.00 ට ගෝඨා-ගෝ-ගම පුරවැසි සභාව සමඟ එක්ව, ෆේස්බුක් සජීවී සැසියක් හරහා දියත් කෙරේ.

Hype Sri Lanka and Citizens Forum Gota-Go-Gama values the feedback and input from the general public of Sri Lanka. That is why we collected the following reviews from young development practitioners.

හයිප් ශ්‍රී ලංකා සහa ගෝඨා-ගෝ-ගම පුරවැසි සභාව, ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ සාමාන්‍ය මහජනතාවගේ අදහස් සහ මතයන් අගය කරයි. අපි තරුණ සංවර්ධන වෘත්තිකයින්ගෙන් පහත සමාලෝචන එකතු කළේ එබැවිනි.

Governance Pillar As per the proposal forwarded by Hype- Sri Lanka I would be reviewing their proposals on the Governance pillar in both Long term and Short term aspects. The new 21st amendment should be passed in the Parliament. However, I have my doubts with regard to eliminating Executive presidency all together because of the complications that is brought by the 13th amendment. Hence, in my opinion, the executive presidency should be made a post which can be made accountable to parliament and people. Moreover, unnecessary power of the executive President should also be stripped. Establishing an interim government which represents all parties in the parliament is a must in this situation as Hype Sri Lanka has pointed out. However, the respective parties should be ready to sacrifice their national lists in order to take the expertise of qualified individuals for the resurrecting and reinvigorating Sri Lanka’s economy. Cabinet expenses and parliamentary expenses should be brought down significantly since the consumption should be reduced accordingly. The unnecessary wastage of government funds should be stopped and more transparent mechanisms should be brought in place as pointed out by the Hype –Sri Lanka Policy Think Tank. Speaking of Long Term actions that is required to be taken, I fully agree with the first proposal of Hype-Sri Lanka. Nepotism in Politics should never be tolerated in Sri Lanka any further. Moreover, politically affiliated appointments should not be tolerated. Sri Lanka Foreign Service, Sri Lanka administrative service and Sri Lanka’s financial service sector should be free of any political appointments and those services should be made 100% Career services. As proposed by Hype-Sri Lanka, it is imperative that we need a fresh constitution. The 1978 constitution hasn’t been able to materialize people’s hopes and wishes. Hence, it is vital to go for a fresh constitution which is based on the Gross National Happiness. Empowering the post of Ombudsman is certainly a timely proposal since it can change status quo of safeguarding people’s fundamental rights. This would ensure that administrative and executive powers are not abused and they shall only be used for safeguarding people’s rights. Social Cohesion and Inclusion Pillar As proposed in this pillar it is imperative to create a social dialog by providing a space for marginalized communities. It makes them more aware about their rights and also it also ensures that people shall be empowered more and their voices will be heard. Acknowledging same sex relationships with legal recognition is vital as well as decriminalizing abortion should also happen immediately. People has been trapped in this dogma for a while now being very blind about it. It is time that they see the light now. Promoting political literacy is something of paramount importance. Purely because, I certainly believe Sri Lankans are very poor in terms of political literacy and that is the exact reason why Politicians have been able to hoodwink people for so long in order to fulfill their whims and fancies. The current situation that the country is facing right now is also caused due to lack of Political literacy among the citizens of Sri Lanka. Hence, a platform should be created across villages were they can actively engage in political discussions and understand the gravity of policy making. As far as Long term actions are concerned, Education system and curriculums should be shaped in a manner in which social inclusivity and social cohesion is encouraged. The dialog and cohesive understanding between different races should happen in order to ensure that we don’t move in to another war. Subjects like “Law” should be introduced to the Sri Lankan education system and should be made mandatory subjects. Another great proposal I came across is the proposal to reform the establishment of schools based on races and gender. The concept of divide and learn is something which is quite archaic and less effective. Hence, it is time that Sri Lankan education system gets a new facelift for the better. Overall policy brief is well articulated and structured. It is good to know that Gota Go Home Gama’s views align with practitioners in the field and economists of the country. Here are some of my comments on the sections I have expertise on. Economic Reforms While the Central Bank of Sri Lanka should be independent, there are other aspects that needs to be addressed in order for the economy to run smoothly. • Reducing red tape and digitalizing all the services • Reducing Public Servants in the government sector to reduce budgetary pressure • Zero-based budget budgeting to rationalize government expenditure. • Transparency in government transactions with multilateral organizations. • Privatize and rationalizing all State Owned Enterprises as the sole purpose of the government is to redistribute wealth among poor; not to generate income as a business entity. This would not mean privatizing education and health. • Reduce the budgetary expenditure on defense as we are no longer under threat. Proposals on Research and Innovation • I think this section covers most of the things except the government does not consult academics and researchers nor refer research documents when they implement policies. • When they do so, it would be 10-15 years behind and the imposition of the policy would be outdated to the present situation. Overall, the policy brief covers a lot of the concerns general public and economists have. The economic recommendations needs to be improved a bit as it solely focuses on money printing and does not address the issue in-depth. Thank you for reaching out to me. Do let me know how I can assist you further On proposals for Good Governance; It would be better if you can elaborate the proposal on including intellectuals and professionals in the parliament. Further, in adopting a new constitution, consider coupling point 2 and 4 mentioned in the long-term action.I would suggest bringing in proposals for women representation in the parliament as well as in the decision-making level of key ministries. A separate proposal could be included calling for asset declaration of MPs. Under proposals on economic development and prosperity, it is suggested to propose provisions for social welfare for low income families under short term actions. Also it is advisable to run the section through an economist. For Proposals on social cohesion and inclusion, suggestion to include the group -disable communities- in the 1st proposal on short term action. The Constitution should be amended to be representative of all Sri Lankans. As someone could argue it represents all Sri Lankans, specifics could be included. Suggestion to include comprehensive sexuality education to the school curriculum (This can come under section 4 as well) and legalize abortion and criminalize marital rape. As brought forth the reforms will have a great impact on the current education system while allowing a greater significance on incorporating a holistic approach to education. The steps taken would be fruitful in counterbalancing many of the issues our education system is currently facing. While realizing that the proposals put forward will have to be thoroughly vetted, scrutinized and even amended before implementation it is nevertheless a great initial step in the right direction by the youth. It’s very refreshing to see the team’s focus has not been limited to one scope of the contemporary education system, instead has addressed many issues pertaining in the system from primary to tertiary education and beyond.

Review from an Attorney-at-Law

Rated 4 out of 5
May 21, 2022

Governance Pillar

As per the proposal forwarded by Hype- Sri Lanka I would be reviewing their proposals on the Governance pillar in both Long term and Short term aspects.

The new 21st amendment should be passed in the Parliament. However, I have my doubts with regard to eliminating Executive presidency all together because of the complications that is brought by the 13th amendment. Hence, in my opinion, the executive presidency should be made a post which can be made accountable to parliament and people. Moreover, unnecessary power of the executive President should also be stripped.

Establishing an interim government which represents all parties in the parliament is a must in this situation as Hype Sri Lanka has pointed out. However, the respective parties should be ready to sacrifice their national lists in order to take the expertise of qualified individuals for the resurrecting and reinvigorating Sri Lanka’s economy.

Cabinet expenses and parliamentary expenses should be brought down significantly since the consumption should be reduced accordingly. The unnecessary wastage of government funds should be stopped and more transparent mechanisms should be brought in place as pointed out by the Hype –Sri Lanka Policy Think Tank.

Speaking of Long Term actions that is required to be taken, I fully agree with the first proposal of Hype-Sri Lanka. Nepotism in Politics should never be tolerated in Sri Lanka any further. Moreover, politically affiliated appointments should not be tolerated. Sri Lanka Foreign Service, Sri Lanka administrative service and Sri Lanka’s financial service sector should be free of any political appointments and those services should be made 100% Career services.

As proposed by Hype-Sri Lanka, it is imperative that we need a fresh constitution. The 1978 constitution hasn’t been able to materialize people’s hopes and wishes. Hence, it is vital to go for a fresh constitution which is based on the Gross National Happiness.

Empowering the post of Ombudsman is certainly a timely proposal since it can change status quo of safeguarding people’s fundamental rights. This would ensure that administrative and executive powers are not abused and they shall only be used for safeguarding people’s rights.

Social Cohesion and Inclusion Pillar

As proposed in this pillar it is imperative to create a social dialog by providing a space for marginalized communities. It makes them more aware about their rights and also it also ensures that people shall be empowered more and their voices will be heard.

Acknowledging same sex relationships with legal recognition is vital as well as decriminalizing abortion should also happen immediately. People has been trapped in this dogma for a while now being very blind about it. It is time that they see the light now.

Promoting political literacy is something of paramount importance. Purely because, I certainly believe Sri Lankans are very poor in terms of political literacy and that is the exact reason why Politicians have been able to hoodwink people for so long in order to fulfill their whims and fancies. The current situation that the country is facing right now is also caused due to lack of Political literacy among the citizens of Sri Lanka. Hence, a platform should be created across villages were they can actively engage in political discussions and understand the gravity of policy making.

As far as Long term actions are concerned,

Education system and curriculums should be shaped in a manner in which social inclusivity and social cohesion is encouraged. The dialog and cohesive understanding between different races should happen in order to ensure that we don’t move in to another war. Subjects like “Law” should be introduced to the Sri Lankan education system and should be made mandatory subjects.

Another great proposal I came across is the proposal to reform the establishment of schools based on races and gender. The concept of divide and learn is something which is quite archaic and less effective. Hence, it is time that Sri Lankan education system gets a new facelift for the better.

Navindu Kalansuriya - Attorney-at-Law

Review from a Policy Researcher

Rated 3 out of 5
May 21, 2022

Overall policy brief is well articulated and structured. It is good to know that Gota Go Home Gama’s views align with practitioners in the field and economists of the country. Here are some of my comments on the sections I have expertise on.

Economic Reforms

While the Central Bank of Sri Lanka should be independent, there are other aspects that needs to be addressed in order for the economy to run smoothly.

• Reducing red tape and digitalizing all the services

• Reducing Public Servants in the government sector to reduce budgetary pressure

• Zero-based budget budgeting to rationalize government expenditure.

• Transparency in government transactions with multilateral organizations.

• Privatize and rationalizing all State Owned Enterprises as the sole purpose of the government is to redistribute wealth among poor; not to generate income as a business entity. This would not mean privatizing education and health.

• Reduce the budgetary expenditure on defense as we are no longer under threat.

Proposals on Research and Innovation

• I think this section covers most of the things except the government does not consult academics and researchers nor refer research documents when they implement policies.

• When they do so, it would be 10-15 years behind and the imposition of the policy would be outdated to the present situation.

Overall, the policy brief covers a lot of the concerns general public and economists have. The economic recommendations needs to be improved a bit as it solely focuses on money printing and does not address the issue in-depth.

Thank you for reaching out to me. Do let me know how I can assist you further.

Dilshani Ranawaka - Junior Research Professional, Centre for Poverty Analysis

Review from a Researcher

Rated 4 out of 5
May 21, 2022

On proposals for Good Governance; It would be better if you can elaborate the proposal on including intellectuals and professionals in the parliament. Further, in adopting a new constitution, consider coupling point 2 and 4 mentioned in the long-term action.I would suggest bringing in proposals for women representation in the parliament as well as in the decision-making level of key ministries. A separate proposal could be included calling for asset declaration of MPs.

Under proposals on economic development and prosperity, it is suggested to propose provisions for social welfare for low income families under short term actions. Also it is advisable to run the section through an economist. For Proposals on social cohesion and inclusion, suggestion to include the group -disable communities- in the 1st proposal on short term action. The Constitution should be amended to be representative of all Sri Lankans. As someone could argue it represents all Sri Lankans, specifics could be included. Suggestion to include comprehensive sexuality education to the school curriculum (This can come under section 4 as well) and legalize abortion and criminalize marital rape.

The rest looks fine to me.

Harini Fernando - Programme and Research Officer at Sri Lanka Press Institute/ Programme and Admin Manager - Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka

Review from an Education Development Practitioner

Rated 4 out of 5
May 21, 2022

As brought forth the reforms will have a great impact on the current education system while allowing a greater significance on incorporating a holistic approach to education. The steps taken would be fruitful in counterbalancing many of the issues our education system is currently facing. While realizing that the proposals put forward will have to be thoroughly vetted, scrutinized and even amended before implementation it is nevertheless a great initial step in the right direction by the youth. It’s very refreshing to see the team’s focus has not been limited to one scope of the contemporary education system, instead has addressed many issues pertaining in the system from primary to tertiary education and beyond.

Dilanka Kumarasinghe - Volunteer Teacher

We invite the general public to share comments, feedback and reflections on the proposal using the comments feature below. We believe that your input can help us to strengthen and streamline our policy advocacy work.

පහත දැක්වෙන ‘අදහස් දැක්වීම් විශේෂාංගය’ භාවිතයෙන්, යෝජනාව පිළිබඳ අදහස්, මතයන් සහ සමාලෝචන බෙදා ගැනීමට අපි සාමාන්‍ය ජනතාවට ආරාධනා කරමු. අපගේ ප්‍රතිපත්ති උපදේශන කාර්යය ශක්තිමත් කිරීමට සහ විධිමත් කිරීමට ඔබගේ අදහස් අපට උපකාර වන බවට අපි විශ්වාස කරන්නෙමු.

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