25 September 2020
Northern Province CM’s Third Eye
My attention was drawn to Mr Wigneswaran’s Parliamentary speech on 24 September. Of interest to me was reference to Article 154R (3) of the Constitution, which states:
[(3) The Government shall, on the recommendation of, and in consultation with, the Commission, allocate from the Annual Budget, such funds as are adequate for the purpose of meeting the needs of the Provinces.]
The way the current national government is proposing to implement a structure they would be comfortable with and developed when they were in government, Mr Wigneswaran also goes to 2014 alleged facts. Accordingly, Mr Wigneswaran claims that only Rs 1650 million came into their custody and that the rest (Rs 10,350 million) was allocated to Central Administrators who lacked the time to spend the money, which resulted in return of a big portion of the allocation.
The above article is preceded by the following:
[154R. (1) There shall be a Finance Commission consisting of –-
(a) the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka ;
(b) the Secretary to the Treasury ; and
[(c) three other members appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council, to represent the three major communities, each of whom shall be a person who has distinguished himself or held high office, in the field of finance, law, administration, business or learning. ]
(2) Every member of the Commission shall, unless he earlier dies, resigns or is removed from office, hold office for a period of three years.]
154R (1) (c ) came into birth through the 19th Amendment.
I do not know whether the above requirements were fulfilled after 2015. If they were not – the then did Mr Wigneswaran question them?. Article 154R (5) requires as follows:
[(5) The Commission shall formulate such principles with the objective of achieving balanced regional development in the country, and shall accordingly take into account –
(a) the population of each Province ;
(b) the per capita income of each Province ;
(c) the need, progressively, to reduce social and economic disparities ; and
(d) the need, progressively, to reduce the difference between the per capita income of each Province and the highest per capita income among the Provinces.]
Did the Northern Provincial Council at any time prepare a Budget within the above guidelines and ensure that it prepared a case towards ‘Accruing’ that amount in the ledgers ? Did the then Council work with the Governor towards developing such a model which other Provinces also could have used? If the answer is ‘no’ then that Council is not ready for Devolution of power. Devolution to an ethnically separated group needs to be accompanied by Objective Accountability measures.
In democratic systems – the Customer is taken as right until proven otherwise. Customers here are the People, in this instance. The various groups’ needs would need to be identified. Such a report was prepared by us in 2013 for Women Headed Households in Chankanai division. http://www.austms.org/news_and_events/CNGOs-PROJECT-REPORT.pdf
A similar report was prepared for the approval of Governor Dr Suren Ragavan in March 2019, for a unit specializing in post war needs.
If funds are allocated on project basis they cannot be taken back on time basis. Anyone who is serious about devolved management would take that pathway and be open to other investors also – on specific basis. If finding fault with each other is the goal – then we confirm that we are not empowered by the needs of the People. One who is not so empowered lacks the authority to represent the People.
If the Provincial government concerned does not have that kind of Planning and Budgeting system – it lacks the authority to receive monies from private contributors. Those who left Northern Province due to the war – need to pool their resources to develop Democratic Resource Management systems which would confirm successful mind merger with those in Motherland. Otherwise, they would owe those who are suffering due to lack of Human Resources, while the seniors enjoy better life in their new home nations. Every refugee owes this debt to the community in whose name s/he emigrated.