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sithamuOn the basis of consultations undertaken over the year as Adviser on Reconciliation to the President, I have submitted a report, with several recommendations. One set deals with problems raised at Divisional meetings. I give here the preamble, and the actual recommendations –

Much dissatisfaction is created by the sense that government is distant, and decisions are made without consideration of local wishes and needs. Explaining government decisions, and why delays are inevitable even though planning is based on a commitment to equitable development, often relieves feelings.

A second problem is resentment of perceived corruption. Enhancing accountability, and providing opportunities to discuss expenditure, with concentration on outcomes and value for money, would reduce resentments.

Confusion is also caused by overlapping areas of responsibility. Though the Divisional Secretariat was intended to be the primary unit of administration, functions impacting strongly on people are based on different areas of responsibility. These include the police, education and health. This makes coordination difficult.

Recommendations

  1. Strengthen Local Government Institutions and give them full responsibility for administration of functions closely affecting the daily lives of people. These include education and vocational training, health and sanitation, local roads and bridges and transport, water supply and drainage and waste management, markets and agricultural extension work.
  2. While policies in these areas should remain the preserve of the Central Government, consultation procedures should be entrenched. Draft legislation for local government contains provisions for consultation, but these could go further. Consultation should be of the grass roots, with mechanisms to convey ideas from Grama Niladhari level, and obtain responses. When these are negative, which will often be the case, alternative remedies for problems posed should be offered, with a time frame. Read the rest of this entry »
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Rajiva Wijesinha

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