For constant progress and economic development of a country, two conditions are peace and political stability. Any uncertainty over the duration of a government negatively affects its policy implementation process, as Sri Lanka has witnessed on several occasions during its seven-decade post-independence history, especially during the last government. “Yahapalana”.
Therefore, the people of the country can breathe a sigh of relief following President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s announcement on Monday declaring his intention to run and win the next presidential election. Speaking to media officials and editors, he said that in addition to the remaining three years in his tenure, he has five more years to implement his policy, clearly underscoring his full confidence in winning the election. next presidential election in 2024.
Regardless of the system of government – monarchy, Executive Presidency, Westminster system led by the Prime Minister, or one-party regime – developing countries made rapid economic progress under powerful rulers who had ensured government stability. . Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia are such examples in Asia.
President Rajapaksa has not yet completed the second year of his government. Two years is not at all a long period in history. For a nation, it is only a fraction of the time. However, for the new government, with long-term five-year plans, the first two-year period was important. In this short period of time, the government has started to implement long-term development programs and significant achievements have been made, despite the overwhelming economic challenges and unprecedented health problems that have surfaced.
The government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has succeeded in laying a solid foundation for the implementation of the policies envisaged in its Electoral Manifesto “Saubhagyaye Dekma” or “Prospects of prosperity and splendor”.
The president’s biggest victory is his ability to give the people a sense of security and peace. The massive campaign to fight crime and drug trafficking and the steps taken to strengthen law enforcement mechanisms have given people a sense of self-confidence and security. There is confidence in the capacity of the police, skillfully assisted by the security forces, to maintain public order and the population now feels that they could engage in their daily activities without any fear. This objective was achieved in the first year of office.
Then came the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with this daunting challenge, the health sector is cooperating fully with the security forces and the police and has succeeded in containing the first two waves of the pandemic in a remarkable way.
Despite the alarming scale of the third wave, the government managed to bring it down to a manageable level through its most ambitious accelerated vaccination exercise. President Rajapaksa, with his methodical approach to problem solving, has deployed the armed forces to assist the health sector, skillfully complementing the overworked health workforce with disciplined soldiers to take over the quarantine work as well as the planned vaccination program.
However, the spread was rapid in the third wave and infected patients undergoing treatment in hospitals are currently just over 20,000 and the death toll has passed 3,800. Despite this alarming situation, the country may be proud of its strong public health service. Although the numbers are high and the virus has pushed the healthcare industry beyond its limits, the industry has bravely fought to get the situation under control. Initially, part of the population criticized the deployment of the Armed Forces. However, over the months, they recognized the positive role played by the Tri-Forces and the police.
Addressing the Buddhist Advisory Council last Friday, the president expressed confidence that all vaccinations received since the arrival of the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines on January 28, and the district-level vaccination programs implemented across the countries will pave the way for the completion of the administration of both doses of the vaccine for people over 30 years of age by the end of August.
It is also planned to complete the vaccination campaign in Kandy district before Dalada Perahera. The President pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has praised the vaccination process in Sri Lanka and that Sri Lanka has become one of the leading countries in South Asia for vaccination. Maha Sangha praised the president and the government for their efforts to control COVID-19 from the start.
One of the most important measures taken by President Rajapaksa has been to raise the poorest of the poor families of the country by recruiting 100,000 unemployed young people from poor families in the most underdeveloped regions of the country. The selected young people were assigned to public sector offices to fill the vacant positions of unskilled workers. Thus, 100,000 of the poorest families of the poor were assured of a monthly income, raising them to a higher rung of the social ladder. At the same time, unskilled young people have had the opportunity to acquire skills so that they are endowed with upward mobility capabilities.
Simultaneously, under the graduate employment program, more than 60,000 unemployed graduates were hired. Recruited graduates receive vocational training at their places of employment in the public sector.
In the education sector alone, several new programs have been launched over the past year. They include upgrading 1,000 schools to national-level schools, admission to university of every qualified student for the GCE A / L exam, and a program to provide vocational training coupled with a master’s degree in science. English language and information technology to those who are not qualified to pursue higher education.
In addition, diploma courses for nurses and teachers have been promoted at the university level by raising these institutes to the rank of full universities.
The decision taken by President Rajapaksa to reduce the unduly high salaries of certain directors of institutes has been greatly appreciated by the population. One such example was the reduction in the salary of the president of telecommunications from Rs. 2 million to Rs. 200,000. The government also gave instructions to follow procurement procedures transparently and to stop unnecessary spending for them. festivals in state institutions.
President Rajapaksa has shown his strength in making decisions in the long-term interest of the country and the people, although some decisions have brought an element of short-term unpopularity. His decision to ban chemical fertilizers has drawn strong criticism from some. Despite this, he vowed not to change the decision taken in the interests of the health of future generations. When he explained to farmer representatives what measures the government should take to promote the use of organic fertilizers, many district farmer representatives, on behalf of 1.1 million farmers across the island, said urged President Rajapaksa not to reverse the measures taken. to use organic fertilizers.
The representatives of the farmers stressed that it was their absolute duty and their responsibility to return to traditional farming methods and to provide the population with healthy and non-toxic food. They added that citizens will be grateful to the president for his decision to feed a healthy next generation for Sri Lanka. Farmers’ representatives assured President Rajapaksa that all farmers in the country will support the president to meet the challenge of organic fertilizer based farming, as a team, for the benefit of all in Sri Lanka, just like the country once faced. the challenge of concluding the war on terrorism.
The president stressed that this was not a sudden decision and that this initiative was launched to keep a promise made in his policy statement “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor”, as a presidential candidate. Previous governments have made several attempts to convert to organic farming. However, the president said the reasons for their failure will be investigated and the new program will be implemented to correct these errors. Some people try to report this as a reverse trip. However, the president stressed that the use of organic fertilizers, which is a new trend around the world, will lead the country on a new path of agrarian economy.
President Rajapaksa chose the meeting with media chiefs for the important announcement of his intention to run for a second term, perhaps because of his belief that as the Fourth Estate, the media have a responsibility to disseminate accurate and balanced information on development policies and activities. of government which has embarked on a new journey to prosperity.