Friday, September 21, 2012

Divineguma Bill Withdrawn – Another failure of Government

Nobody cares!! This is not the first time this government has sent bills that should have been more thoroughly investigated, for in this instance, being in accordance with the Constitution and the Provincial Council Acts. After all the Supreme Court in a judgment said that it needed ratification by the PCs before it can be presented to Parliament for discussion, debate and vote.

The frequency of failed legislation is an indication of the Govts. Assumption that they can do anything they like and hopefully get away with it. This time they were not so lucky as the Supreme Court could not reasonably defend the bills nature which needs ratification by the provinces first.

This failure on the part of the Government is an indication of the carefree attitude of the people in power to legislation which they hope to pass by hook or by crook, and this time by only crook.

One of the main provisions of the bill which most of the Samurdhi officers were in favor of was that the employees would now be part of a Govt. department entitled to benefits including pension benefits. They have been agitating for this for a while and therefore it seems that their prayers were finally answered, but it was not to be when the bill was withdrawn!

The real problem was that this bill gave incredible powers to the Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rakapakse, enhancing the families’ control over the nation’s wealth and therefore of the manner in which it is spent.

While in principle the bill was to enable the quick development of the hinterland the reality however is very different. It is of further plunder of state resources, where favors are granted in exchange for huge backhanders.

When power corrupts it corrupts absolutely and Divi Neguma is an absolute waste of state resources. In the first stages of the old Divi Neguma program where seeds that did not germinate were distributed to hapless peasants free it was a sort of largess that went badly wrong. Now this largess is of greater proportion to a larger number of people and in amounts that are unconscionable. Adding more departments to an already bloated state sector is an affront to common sense when the Govt. should streamline the duplication of services. This common sense approach does not appear to go well with the purveyors of the state spigot of funds.

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