By Kath Noble
A lot of promises have been made to the people of the Northern Province since the end of the conflict. The Government launched its “Uthuru Wasanthaya’’ programme with a great deal of fanfare, and billions of rupees have been spent. We assume that work is being done. New plans are announced on a regular basis. However, it remains to be seen whether all this money and activity will result in the kind of economic takeoff the region so desperately needs.
This was the subject of a very interesting debate led by well known researcher Muttukrishna Sarvananthan at the Indian Cultural Centre last week. The text of his presentation was serialised in this newspaper.
He emphasised a general concern about the Sri Lankan economy that I think bears repeating.
Economic growth shouldn’t be an end in itself. Whether Mahinda Rajapaksa achieves his target of 8% growth per annum up to the end of his second term is far less important than how he goes about the task. Continuing the trend set in the last five years would have dangerous repercussions, given its focus on expanding the public sector. While the Government has doubled per capita income from $1,000 to $2,000, it has also doubled public debt.