Political engagement with Aragayala necessary – The Island
By the National Science Foundation
(Continued from yesterday)
1. Bypass and manage anarchic conditions
If the immediate problems of reduced/unavailability of gas, fuel, food, medicine and other essential items are not addressed immediately, a lawless situation could engulf the entire country. The symptoms of such a situation are already manifesting themselves with an increase in violent and aggressive behavior and a breakdown of public order. If the situation persists, a state of anarchy could break out. It can be involuntary and spontaneous or pre-planned and organized.
Therefore, we strongly recommend immediate discussion with mainstream print and electronic media and those who create and manage social media content and dissemination to provide non-sensational information. They should provide balanced coverage including some of the positive developments and innovative solutions. They should also contain sociological content to help people manage their emotions and interpersonal relationships. Support mechanisms through social institutions such as Sarvodaya, SANASA and other community organizations should be used, and their experience and position should be utilized. However, this should in no way be used as a pretext to restrict freedom of expression and exercise political control over free media.
(B). Industry Recommendations
2. Immediate addressing of power and energy availability
The consumption and efficient use of energy will remain central to future efforts to promote economic and social growth in developing countries.
I. Conduct direct negotiations with oil-producing countries by a competent high-level negotiating team
ii Acceleration of solar, wind, bioenergy and mini-hydro projects in preparation and new projects with credible private sector institutions to promote and produce green energy
iii. Transportation of fuel and other goods should be done by rail at night rather than by barrels and trucks, to save fuel and reduce distribution costs.
iv. Rapidly develop a supply chain for charcoal, pellets, briquettes and other value-added products as well as bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas through targeted R&D for use as an alternative to LPG and fuel tanker. The use of charcoal instead of coconut charcoal should be encouraged, as the latter is a source of foreign exchange.
v. Create energy plantations (4e plantation cultivation), especially in land degraded for dendro-thermal energy production, using fast-growing tree species such as Gliricidia and early successional species that can also serve as Earth’s lungs in order to obtain carbon credits.
vi. Promote the use of biogas, by recovering household and municipal waste, as is done at the Municipal Council of Kaduwela. Other CMs may embark on similar projects to generate electricity from municipal waste. This, in addition to providing a sustainable and rewarding solution to municipal waste management, will bring in carbon credits, and therefore dollars, for the country.
3. Immediate and short-term interventions to improve food and nutrition security
Sri Lanka has about two million farmers, mostly smallholders, who contribute about 80% of food production. Agriculture accounts for 25% of the country’s workforce, but contributes only around 6% of GDP due to its low productivity and low value added. Therefore, ensuring food security in the current circumstances is a formidable challenge. Adoption of the following will mitigate the impact of the current crisis on food and nutrition security.
I. Determination of food and fodder needs, food production and food deficit/surplus of major food crops at district and national levels. This is necessary to understand the scale and severity of food and nutrition insecurity and its spatial variation and to ensure equitable food distribution. (For example, only about 10% of the food needs of the Western Province are produced in the province and the deficit, i.e. 90%, is covered by food produced in other regions and imported .)
ii. Identification of food crops and their varieties, namely cereals, pulses, yams, vegetables and fruits, which are most essential for food and nutrition security and import substitution.
iii. Determination of the most suitable agroclimatic and edaphic zones/fields for the cultivation of the crops and their varieties identified under (ii), in order to allow the matching of crops and land for optimum yield.
iv. A rapid multiplication program of high quality planting material to meet increased demand. This is extremely important for the paddy and special attention should be paid to collecting adequate seed rice from this year’s Yala season crop to meet the needs of the next Maha season which is around 80,000 tons. metrics.
v. Identification of outstanding enterprising farmers in each AGA division who have consistently produced relatively high yields, especially those adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) including integrated farming and integrated nutrient management with institutional support skills and the promotion of outsourcing programs
vi. Make available limited and expensive inputs, e.g. chemical fertilizers, pesticides, weedkillers, fuel for machinery, etc., in priority to the most outstanding selected farmers in areas with high agricultural potential for crops/varieties of each district. This will ensure maximum return on investment (ROI) and minimize the production of unregulated, uncoordinated ad hoc crops for commercial purposes under sub-optimal and marginal conditions.
9. Develop a roadmap for essential export-oriented manufacturing
Sri Lanka is endowed with valuable natural resources including graphite, ilmenite, rutile, zircon, quartz, feldspar, clay, kaolin, apatite, silica sand, garnet, mica, calcite and dolomite.. However, currently, large quantities of these minerals are exported with almost no added value, which causes the country to lose a great opportunity to earn a considerable amount of foreign exchange; therefore, the establishment of a basic chemical processing industry (CPI) in Sri Lanka is a high priority concern. Two of the industrial revolutions taking place in the world are currently on our soil, namely biotechnology and nanotechnology, thanks to strategic investments. Both of these investments can significantly add value to our minerals as well as our bioresources. With a concerted policy, it is possible that these industries will contribute around 5% to GDP in the medium term.
The above recommendations and observations stem from our deep concern about the unprecedented nature of the crisis and the existential issues involved. The recommendations are science-based, data-driven and, above all, politically neutral and objective. They do not seek to supplant input from other professional sources, but rather to supplement and supplement it.
Given the dire situation and the urgency of its resolution, it is imperative that the political authorities, both the government and the opposition, abandon partisan posturing and cooperate in the adoption of the above recommendations and others desired public policy decisions through multi-party consensus. approach involving consultation and compromise, including but not limited to the parliamentary advisory committee system.
This consensual approach is not an idealistic dream, but a ruthless imperative of the hour, and for two reasons. There is a need to restore the confidence of a skeptical public that those responsible for the crisis are now considering serious steps towards reform, normality and a roadmap for growth. Equally, it will demonstrate to our foreign interlocutors, to whom taxpayers are invited to hand over their hard-earned money to help Sri Lanka emerge from this self-proclaimed crisis, that our commitment to recovery and reform is backed by a national consensus, and is therefore sustainable. Such a confidence-building process will ideally begin with a genuinely representative multi-party, or even all-party, interim governance arrangement based on consensual decision-making as articulated by many segments of society, especially religious leaders, minority parties, young people, civil society, professionals etc…
Everyone agrees that foreign aid is a sine qua non for our recovery, especially in the short term. Those willing to consider helping the country must therefore be assured that the next government will not backtrack on agreed reform and recovery programmes. This strengthening of confidence, stemming from a national consensus, is essential for successful negotiations with our bilateral and multilateral interlocutors.
Finally, we must emphasize that there is no magic bullet to solve the problems of a modern economy in a rapidly developing world. A development and renewal program will involve hard work, consistency and early responses based on proper analysis and assessment of emerging issues. To our knowledge, no country in the world has developed without hard and sustained work over a long period of time. It is therefore imperative that we move away from politics and devote our sustained attention to governance. Politics could be conducted within parties. But, it must always be remembered that parties are elected by the people to govern, not to pursue party politics, the pursuit of which has brought the country to the present state.
Teacher. Ranjith Senaratne, President, National Science Foundation and Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ruhuna
Dr. Sepalika Sudasinghe, Managing Director, National Science Foundation and Visiting Professor of Management, University of Management and Science Malaysia
Desamanya MDD Pieris, former secretary to the Prime Minister and several ministries and currently a member of some professional bodies and committees
C. Maliyadde, Vice President, Sri Lanka Economic Association and former Secretary to several Ministries
HMGS Palihakkara, former Foreign Minister, Ambassador and former Governor of the Northern Province.
Dr. Chandra Embuldeniya, Chair of NSF’s Technology Development and Innovations Branch, Founder, Vice-Chancellor of Uva Wellassa University and Former President of Sri Lanka’s National Chamber of Commerce
Teacher. AKW Jayawardane, Senior Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Chairman, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC and Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Moratuwa
DK RAJAPAKSA BSc (Hons) Ceylon, Managing Director Emeritus DSI Samson Group (Pvt.) Ltd
Dr. PA Kiriwandeniya, founder of the SANASA movement
Rizvi Zaheed, BA Hons. MBA, Chairman, Sri Lanka Agripreneurs’ Forum
Professor Saroj Jayasinghe, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Colombo
Teacher. Ajith de Alwis, Senior Professor of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Moratuwa and Director of Innovation (Actg.), National Innovation Agency