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Sri Lanka's 'Rajapaksa' dilemma - Is it a failed state yet?

Updated: Feb 4, 2023

You must have seen in the news on what's going on in Sri Lanka. The state declared Emergency and it's President - from the Rajapaksa clan flew out of the country. The family is ruling the state since long and so are they to blame for everything Sri Lanka is facing?

What are the crisis? Why was the public on streets? (Source: BBC)

  • The price of everyday goods has risen sharply.

  • Inflation is running at more than 50%.

  • There have also been widespread power cuts.

  • Lack of medicines has brought the health system to the verge of collapse.

  • The country doesn't have enough fuel for essential services like buses, trains.

  • It doesn't have enough foreign currency to import more.

  • The government banned the sale of petrol and diesel for non-essential vehicles for two weeks (the first country to do so since the 1970s)

  • Sales of fuel remain severely restricted.

  • Schools have closed, and people have been asked to work from home to help conserve supplies.

Amid all this what can we expect from the people of Sri Lanka to do? When they have no food to eat and they have no fuel to use transport means, schools are closed, forex reserves are finished.

What really lead to these crisis in Sri Lanka?

  • The government has blamed the COVID - 19 pandemic.

  • Due to COVID - 19, tourist trade - one of its biggest foreign currency earners was severely affected.

  • After the 2009 crisis in Sri Lanka they focused more on domestic trade rather than boosting foreign trade.

  • This meant that import bill of Sri Lanka kept on growing with zero focus on exports.

  • At the end of 2019, Sri Lanka had $7.6bn (£5.8bn) in foreign currency reserves, which have dropped to around $250m (£210m).

  • To control forex problem the government tried to limit them by banning imports of chemical fertilizer and told farmers to use local organic farming methods.

  • That too happened sudden that the market didn't get chance to think and this lead to crop failure and they had to import food from outside which instead increased the import bill.

The situation later and the future for Sri Lankans?

The President fled to Singapore/USA as per sources. Sri Lanka now is relying for help from India and other neighboring nations and the IMF ( International monetary fund). Country’s currency has collapsed by 80 percent, making imports more expensive and worsening inflation

  • Political parties agreed legislators will elect a new president on July 20 but are struggling to form a new government.

  • The country is in talks with IMF.

  • The PM has taken over as President now.

  • Soldiers are authorized to use force.

  • Economic help from India, might be as of the external affairs ministry hasn't updated anything yet.

Who is the powerful 'Rajapaksa' Family?

  • President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took office in 2019 and he got a military background.

  • His brother Mahinda Rajapaksa was head till May 2019.

  • In 2009, he led a brutal government crackdown that crushed the separatist Tamil rebels after decades of civil war.

  • His brother, Mahinda was once adored by the Sinhala-Buddhist majority for crushing the Tamil rebels.

  • Other family member Basil Rajapaksa is nicknamed as "Mr Ten Percent" in a reference to commissions he allegedly took from government contracts.

Let's hope the best for Sri-Lankans, Indians have shared closed historical ties with them and still going strong. Their past politics have lead to such disasters and even the foreign policy, such as giving up to the demands of China (the Hambantota port) and not implementing the 13th Amendment promised by them after the LTTE war. These are some of the concerns of India. Also, we have lost one Prime Minister due to our interference in the war in Sri Lanka that is Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

stay tuned for more..



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