Sri Lanka recently passed emergency regulations to deal with food shortages and price increases. Such powers are typically invoked to address public security concerns. But in this instance, they are being used to give the government extra powers to seize stocks of essential food items hoarded by traders. This justification sidesteps a fundamental question about the economic policy choices that have created the need for such drastic measures. An artificially maintained ‘official’ exchange rate in an economy hobbled by high debt levels has disincentivised food importers from releasing stocks at controlled domestic prices.
In a very significant development which will give an impetus to India-Sri Lanka relations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is inaugurating the direct flight from Sri Lanka to Kushinagar on 20th October. A number of high dignitaries and Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka will grace the occasion. Kushinagar is a major pilgrimage site that attracts a high number of Buddhist pilgrims including from Sri Lanka every year. It is believed that Gautam Buddha had attained Mahaparinirbana in Kushinagar after his death.
Sri Lanka has backed down from its ambitious plans to become the world’s first completely organic farming nation, reversing a ban on imports of chemical fertiliser.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had imposed a total ban on agrochemicals in May, saying he wanted to make Sri Lankan farming 100 percent organic.
The Sri Lankan government has ended price controls on essential foods in a bid to end black market trading as food shortages worsen amid a foreign currency crisis.
The cabinet on Friday decided to deregulate prices for milk powder, wheat flour, sugar and liquified petroleum gas hoping it would increase supplies.
Sri Lankan prosecutors have indicted the alleged mastermind of the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bombings along with 24 men they say are co-conspirators in the island’s worst single “terror” attack.
Almost 300 people including dozens of foreign nationals were killed in the April 21 attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels, in a wave of killings singling out Sri Lanka’s Christian community.
As the Taliban’s takeover indicates structural changes in India’s neighbourhood, a new challenge is now emerging from the South. A food-scarce Sri Lanka is now standing atop of an economic disaster that will have severe security repercussions for India if left unattended.
In a low-key yet significant posturing, Sri Lanka has gone on to defend China, Venezuela, and Nicaragua at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which is in session at present. It comes at a time when the council has specifically and continuously called upon Colombo to mend and/or explain what is seen as Sri Lanka’s habituated behaviour on the rights front since before the conclusion of the LTTE war in May 2009.