ee archive: eesrilanka.wordpress.com
“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
A War Economy is Inevitable
e-Con e-News 30 November – 5 December 2020
“It is time the country moves up from conditions of merchant capital dominance to those of industrial capital dominance. An approach to generate profits through improving value addition in production processes is urgently needed.”
– Central Bank Governor WD Lakshman
An irrigation engineer made an impassioned speech to the president against foreign funding of major engineering projects. Foreign loans hugely inflate costs far beyond what may be accomplished by local workers. The speech does not mention why such costs are inflated, and who is responsible. Foreign industrialists pay off a chain of local beneficiaries, to keep buying foreign machines, and prevent local production of such capital goods (see ee Quotes).
The imperialist ADB this week promised $400million to uplift secondary education. All this slush money ensures our children will never be trained to develop a producer culture.
• The US, England, EU and India are ready to unleash Tigers and other terrors on us, again:
We import half a trillion rupees of machinery every year. Rs1.5 trillion of fuel, vehicles and garment inputs every year. That is Rs2 trillion on such imports alone. “When the procurements were made in public sector institutions for machinery, EU standards were made a requirement… Although we have workers who could produce the same machinery, they cannot sell their products to public sector institutions because of these so-called EU standards.” (see ee Economy)
We import potatoes from Germany and the Netherlands. Apples and pears from France, grapes from Italy. In 2018, Sri Lanka exported US$11.1 billion and imported $18.7 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of -$7.57 billion – http://oec.world/en/profile/country/lka.
The white threats are preemptive strikes. The opposition hyperbole likens government regulations to North Korea and China! Barking, on behalf of their imperialist sponsors. They don’t wish us to even think of, let alone develop, a production economy.
‘Those who argue for so-called “debt restructuring” or “debt reprofiling” must realise this means reforms of austerity. In my view, Sri Lanka is already undergoing some austerity, but on our terms. This is evident when the ongoing programme of import compression is considered. In my view, SL is introducing ground-breaking reforms to improve the domestic production economy, enhance exports and reduce foreign debt dependence. It is commendable that SL is following this approach without being prompted by any foreign agency, while continuing to honour all its financial obligations!’ – Central Bank Governor
• The IMF & World Bank promise funding for combating Covid, for education, women, etc, at the same time refusing to cancel ‘debt’! Most of this debt has come from paying for foreign machines, goods, experts, as well as bribing local players (politicians, officials, engineers, official & unofficial security – yes, professionals!) to prevent local production.
Multinationals will superprofit off vaccines, despite the greenwash and pinkwash about helping the environment, women, menstruation, education, etc. Women and children constitute most of the impoverished. Media publicize little of the demand for public provision of vaccines, let alone pads, how governments with socialized healthcare give it free to the people.
• There are many tricks to undermine a popular government. The comprador oligarchy have had a major problem with the election of GR as president, and the landslide general-election victory. Critics, fully funded by a warmongering white world, keep railing against Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism, despotism, Chinese influence, and imminent disaster by debt.
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka insists they can steer the economy without the IMF. That minimal import restrictions are necessary. Yet the opposition and their monopoly media demand otherwise. Their rating agencies oblige. Their fund managers no doubt squeeze capital flows. England unleashes their Tigers. The EU unleash Geneva. Dollarized NGOs hail their Washington handlers brandishing US ‘exceptionalism’. Delhi whispers into the TNA’s ear. Fake news thrives. Any attempt to challenge a jackass media is called ‘censorship’, even as US-funded Yahapalanaya had their own plans for the press.
Covid has come in a way as a blessing. The second wave promises a bounty! Yet Covid or no Covid, a war economy has been inevitable in Sri Lanka. A wasteful parasitic class still rule, no matter who is nominally ‘in power’. Minting billions in profits, they use plagues to their benefit. They manipulate the ample discontent in the country, which has long preceded the present.
This week they discovered the horrors of prison life, where many are in prison due impoverishment by moneylenders and merchants. Meanwhile, usurer LOLC announced it is sponsoring religious services against Covid, after robbing people.
There was much about the budget in this week’s economic news. The government has taken great pains to keep the bourgeoisie happy, while calmly explaining its reasons. Real import substitution (of machines, etc) has not been even broached. Yet the capitalists feign pain.
This import-export plantation mafia, far more corrupt than any state-run enterprise their monopoly media love to wail about, has of course always undermined progressive advances by any government. They will use any means to continue their usurious and wasteful ways.
Those who warn the situation is far worse than ever, forget we’ve gone through 500 years and more of constant destabilization. As long as we unite – none can stop the time!
A1. Reader Comments –
• Scattered Gems • Lots of Punch • Bad Girlfriend • Send ee to Policymakers
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Pinkwashing Pads • Village Committees • Engineer on Inflated Tenders
A3. Random Notes –
• Decentring Advice • English War Economy in Lanka • Merkel Bashes US Exceptionalism • US State Department Kneegrows • Multinational Rainbow Invasions • Bank Profits Not Invested in Machines • Import Substitution & Heavy Industry • PHIs are the Real Media • 3,000 CIA-funded Journalists • PUCSL & Privatizing Water & Energy • Private-Public Deals Increase Corruption
B. ee Focus
B1. English War Economy in Lanka – 1942
B2. The Origins of Planning in War (US & England)
B3. War Economy Preceded Planning in India
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
• ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any article sent, or your comments, and place the e-link at the end. It’s better to email.
• “I am indebted for the insights diligently sent me weekly, and for generously scattered gems:
‘oozing an eerie obsession with menstruation and a fetish for foreign tamponade’”
• “ee was full of punch. Lots to think about.”
• “ee is like a bad girlfriend – sometimes I like it and sometimes it pisses me off for wasting my time”
• “Should send eeto all the higher-ups involved in making and implementing economic policy”
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘The current conversation around sanitary pads appears to be: 1) a top-down imposition by think-tanks, parties and a few elite women who are the main consumers of imported sanitary products, and 2) An attempt to “pinkwash” trade liberalisation, by giving it the progressive – in this case feminist – veneer that it lacks in SL’s public consciousness.’ (ee Workers, Period poverty or period capitalism?)
• “This week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa decided on a grassroots-level strategy by activating Village Committees which had been set up earlier for development-related work. These Committees have been converted into Observation Teams. Members of such committees are Grama Niladharis, Economic Development Officers, Agricultural Research and Production Assistants, Family Health Services, and Police officers. They will come under the overall technical supervision of Medical Officers of Health and in coordination with the Public Health Inspectors (PHI).”
• ‘A 79-year-old engineer addressed a meeting chaired by President G Rajapaksa, referred to 11 projects, where 5 were done by Sri Lankans and the others by foreigners, pointing out that the projects done by foreigners cost 4-6 times of that executed by locals.
“One example is the Maduru Oya irrigation scheme under the Mahaweli Development project. The estimate provided by the late legendary engineer ANS Kulasinghe, head of the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau, to undertake this work, was Rs725 million. Canada gave a loan of Rs2,450 million for the project. When Kulasinghe asked the Treasury for this money, he was told they had no funds. However, the Treasury spent Rs850 million in counterpart funds for the Canadian-led project. A project that would have cost only Rs725 million eventually cost more than Rs3,000 million,” he said.
“We have spent 4 or 5 times on projects and Mr President Sir we are continuing in the same fashion for most of the projects. When the RDA provided an estimate of Rs540 million to build the new Kelani bridge, the Japanese gave a Rs1,500 million grant-cum-loan while the government spent Rs540 million on counterpart funds. The RDA could have built 4 bridges with that money,” he said, adding these ‘costly’ decisions were by politicians, administrators, planners.
…1957 floods damaged 1,500 tanks: SWRD Bandaranaike the PM, asked Lands Minister CP de Silva whether to bring consultants and contractors from England. His reply: “No Sir, let’s ask Gunasekera (Director of Irrigation).” Gunasekera said, “You give me the rupees, I’ll do the job.” All the 1,500 tanks were repaired in 10 months in readiness for the next monsoon, and that was the biggest engineering feat this country has ever seen.
Another costly mistake was handing over the Kalutara bridge construction to Swedish firm Skanska. The local estimate for this project was Rs110 million, while Skanska asked for Rs245 million and was given the job. “We could have built 3 bridges across the Kalu Ganga with that money,” he said, adding that the country spends a lot on free education to produce engineers who are skilled and competent but the country is not getting the best out of them.’ (see ee Industry, Expertise)
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
The government made up of a coalition has contending tendencies: those who wish to preserve the import-export plantation mess and those who wish the country to move on. To some critics from the Left, import substitution and nonalignment are just rhetoric, and everything is being put up for sale.
Decentring is the name of their game. Think small, they insist. Try not to punch above your weight. All types of commentators, several claiming to be Left, go to great pains to remind the government not to exaggerate Sri Lanka’s importance at the centre of this ocean called Indian, that it can balance or manipulate ‘big power’ rivalry. Yet history tells us otherwise.
“Don’t do as the English say, do as the English do!”
Commander-in-Chief of England’s East Indies Squadron John William Hamilton O’Regan, was in 1944, the Controller of the Internal Purchase Scheme and Assistant to Civil Defence Commissioner Oliver Goonetilleke, to organize and enforce the scheme for the compulsory purchase of locally grown rice.
Whenever the English face severe crisis they abandon their facade of ‘free-trade’ and ‘laissez faire.’ We’ve been in such crisis for decades, especially before and since ‘in/dependence,’ and soon there will be no choice.
The English under pressure set up a war economy in their own and their colonial economies: It was not an outcome of ‘socialist ideology’. The entire apparatus of controls already existed before ‘the age of planning’ was attempted in Sri Lanka and India. Propelled by the ‘great depression’, alongside the incredible rise of the USSR (then Germany), England’s plans were made long before WW2 and controls continued long after.
Many issues of ee (28 April & 17 June 2019; 19 Jan, 8 Feb, 21 March & 12 Apr 2020) recall what England enacted: the “Allied Food Council” in 1918, “Imperial Preference” after the 1930s slump etc, then during their WW2 and long after:
Frightened by Japan’s capture of Malaysia, Burma, Singapore and German advance through Europe, the English hurriedly allied with the USSR of Comrade Joseph Stalin. The English immediately guaranteed above-world-prices to cultivators (via an Internal Purchase Scheme); increased free rural services, invested in dry-zone peasant colonization, providing free artificial manure, seeds, grants of ‘crown’ land. They awarded wages and conditions to workers, also allowing ‘free’ education. They restricted imports, private consumption of fuel, rationing consumer goods. They signed long-term bilateral bulk purchase contracts involving a long duration and the centralization of trade. Most or all of the imports and exports were conducted on a government-to-government basis rather than through private trade. From mid-1943, they froze prices on food, subsidizing other goods. They encouraged limited industrialization (which they then destroyed after the threat passed, by installing whitened puppets). Rare are the economists who ever discuss these ‘dangerous’ moments! Instead, they talk nonsense about how we inherited a great country from the English.
A war economy is inevitable. The bourgeoisie wish to maintain the import-export plantation mess! But at what cost and for how long can? The constant refrain of the media is for exports and FDI, by economists fully in the arms of the import mafia.
• On Nov 30, Germany’s Angela Merkel hit out at the incoming Biden administration’s slogan of US ‘exceptionalism’. (see ee Economy, German)
Critics note exceptionalism is just another camouflage for Yankee warmongering. This policy will wrap themselves in all the rainbow colors of ‘inclusivity’, ‘sustainability’, ‘diversity’, as demanded by the multinational bankers who rule our economies.
• “Kneegrows” – as Malcolm X called Black people, who served the foreign policies of the US State Dept: for they spent so much time on their knees!
In their typical sycophantic fawning about any darkie who makes it among whites, the media hypes US Vice-President Kamala Aunty and her Sri Lankan assistant. As if their token posting will in any way affect the masses of people, let alone Tamilnadu. This media totally ignored the strike of 250 million workers and peasants in India, the largest in world history! Some media tried to claim the strike was inspired in the Punjab by the Canada-coddled Khalistani separatist lobby.
ee strongly recommends rereading the plans ofthe Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism: “Motivated by a ‘progressive’ anti-communism, the Coalition aims to empower corporations… first and foremost to pre-empt, co-opt and neutralize demands for more radical transformation advocated by labor and social movements – a strategy consciously designed to split the Left by giving ‘progressives’ the ideological ammunition they need to embrace the system” (see, ee 10 Nov 2019).
Inasmuch as Obama prepared the way for Trump, Trump prepared the way for Biden. Those kowtowing to Biden now, must remember, he’s just easing the way for Trump2. They’re two sides of the same dud coin. Slathering their makeup with sweet liberal nothings, Biden will launch more wars, covert and blatant.
• Banks and companies (including private hospitals) here are making a killing. Vallibel Finance records Rs890mn profits in first 6 months, says one headline (ee Finance). But they refuse to invest in modern industrial production. Again ee reminds: ‘modern’ industry is NOT assembly and manufacture (handicraft). It is the making of machines. Their profits are playing the horses (and bulls) elsewhere. In the US, billionaires are one-third richer than before the pandemic struck. Success has not translated into better wages and safety conditions for their employees.
• When ee saw a positive headline about ‘import substitution’: we were curious, then thrilled: It said “opponents of controlling imports and attempting import substitution” are “tools of neocolonialists”!
Jayavaeva! But then it concludes: ‘Sri Lanka must not go for heavy industries. First it must achieve self-sufficiency in food and other essentials. Later it could start small machinery like power-looms, electrical and electronic items. Industrialization should be at the manageable level of agriculture, clothes and such items and perhaps not heavy industries like automobiles, etc. The threat posed by Covid-19 must be converted into an opportunity and made full use of to make the country’s economy and politics independent of external factors.’ (see ee Industry)
ee agrees this crisis is a great opportunity, glad such an article finally appeared, but we must learn from the inadequate attempts at import substitution of the early 1970s. Why is the media not allowing a democratic national conversation about these issues? Are they that much in hock to Unilever, et al, who rob our rural home market? And who’s afraid of heavy industry?
This week saw the President activating Village Committees under Medical Officers of Health to coordinate with Public Health Inspectors. There was also a call for health committees to be set up in workplaces. Health inspectors, with plenary powers, could be the source of real media, especially vital statistics about rural and urban workers and homes. ‘Garbage’ collectors are far more important than doctors, for they’re the real frontline healthworkers. An ee reader, in a macabre mood, living alone, notes it’s garbage workers who’ll be the first to know if she passes away, for they always call out to her.
• The media’s craven colonial attitude is exposed when they go into ecstasies about how ‘free’ the media is in Western countries. Their media has perfected the art of soft confession while leaving larger issues untouched. The Sunday Times praised the much-lauded Washington Post reporter Ed Bernstein’s Watergate journalism. The truth is, the Post owner was a top CIA official, who Nixon put on a list of enemies. As long as Nixon was murdering Southeast Asians by the millions, or killing the leadership of the American Indian Movement or Black Panther Party, there was little media dissent:
“At the height of the Cold War the CIA developed it’s very own stable of writers, editors and publishers (swelling to as many as 3,000 individuals) that it paid to scribble Agency propaganda under a program called Operation Mockingbird. The disinformation network was supervised by the late Philip Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post.” – counterpunch.org/2016/11/30/the-cia-and-the-press-when-the-washington-post-ran-the-cias-propaganda-network
• The PUCSL was a step towards privatisation. Unions and almost everyone else hate it. The first step was the establishment of LECO, the second the liberalisation of supply. PUCSL was established as an independent body to regulate utilities, when utilities should anyway be in state hands and regulated by Parliament. Earlier, water and electricity were distributed by local authorities. The CEB and LECO took over the electrical function, the NWSDB took over the water function, with direct water tariffs instead of water rates. These were preliminaries to privatisation, stillborn because of popular pressure.
• Is this the beginning of the end? SL plans to list state-run hotels and land firm Selendiva in 2021? (see ee Agriculture)
Some argue it depends on what percentage of shares are held by the state. It could be useful to raise funds and increase capitalization. But it never works out that way. The introduction of private sector members to the board increases corruption. The faulty premise is that the private sector is inherently more efficient than the public sector. The private sector will not invest unless it can make more money. So the de-facto loss to the govt will be more than from bonds. These are all poor substitutes for improving efficiency by reducing corruption. This holds for the private sector as well. The illusion of market forces disappears when you study pricing. Cartels keep prices at superposition levels, while board members play out their shareholders. At every level in private companies there is bribery and pilferage. A market analyst notes that high-rise construction prices are so high in Lanka because the board members of the development companies demand such huge kickbacks from the contractors. The JVP may be correct: eliminating corruption, could make overall savings of up to 10% of GDP.
B. Special Focus_
B1. English War Economy in Lanka – 1942
“The economic background was one of severe scarcity and rigid economic controls”
“The people themselves were led to ask for cooperative distribution as the only effective remedy for their pressing ills”
“Even before the war had ended the English government’s Post-Hostilities Planning Committee had concluded Ceylon would remain vital for Indian Ocean defence and in the event of war against the USSR.”
Japan had conquered Asia’s rice bowl territories. Over 70% of Ceylon’s rice had come from Burma before Japan’s conquest in March 1942. The Japanese raids on Ceylon and the coasts of India in April disrupted vital trade traffic with India.
The Department of Civil Defence took over the colony’s food strategy. The National Food Campaign used propaganda – posters, calendars, ads, certificates, even stickers – to encourage greater food self-sufficiency, backed up by government inducements such as land grants and free agricultural implements.
An Emergency School Production campaign involved 5,000 schools. People were told to use new crops, particularly wheat and wheat flour, greens for iron and vitamins, chillies and French dwarf beans, and to rotate crops and prepare manure. Demonstration vans toured rural areas showing how to cook with unfamiliar ingredients. Government farms produced food, grown by the Agricultural Corps, a ‘volunteer land army’ of 15,000 labourers.
Bulk rice purchases from India, exacerbated the Bengal famine. Wheat and wheat flour
(30,000 tons/month) were brought from Australia to supplement rice stocks.
After the Japanese raids in April 1942, food distribution broke down. Looting took place, despite posters warning capital punishment. Elsewhere food stockpiles were abandoned. DS Senanayake, minister of agriculture, was put in charge of emergency food schemes. Senanayake got Ceylon included as part of the economic orbit of India, establishing greater local and governmental control over the island’s food and food distribution: After the Japanese air raid, non-Ceylonese traders, who dominated the import trade and the wholesale and retail trade, fled. They caused an overwhelming food shortage. Senanayake brought the import trade under government control and assured wide distribution of foodstuffs, with the assistance of the Co-operative Movement, avoiding a food crisis.
General food rationing was introduced, and the Municipal Council of Colombo issued 566,919 ration books. The CMC organized 54 rice depots to distribute rations, and the Civil Defence Commission introduced a Milk Supply Scheme and a network of depots. Rations provided 2-3rds of normal consumption.
The co-operative movement became a central element in the government’s response to food shortages. The Food Control Scheme regulated the distribution of supplies through a network of approved merchants for basic foodstuffs such as rice and flour. Despite controls, profiteering in consumer goods became so rampant and the co-operative movement took over. In 1942 the co-operative movement had 2,000 societies with 92,000 members and capital of Rs7mn (c.£526,315). In 1945, 6,400 societies with 1,100,000 members and capital of Rs26mn.
(adapted from “‘Defend Lanka Your Home’: War on the Home Front, 1939-45”, Ashley Jackson)
• B2. The Origins of Planning in War (US & England)
“Logistics make up 90% of the business of war…the mathematical problems involved in calculating the movements and supply of armies are to quote Napoleon, not unworthy of a Leibnitz or a Newton.”
“My logisticians are a humorless lot…they know if my campaign fails, they are the first ones I will slay” – Sikander aka Alexander the Greek
“The war was decided by engines and octane” – Comrade Joseph Stalin
“While the language of patriots and traitors may be the language of scoundrels, those who have advocated putting people’s welfare – their health, education and prosperity – on the market shelf are the true traitors.”
‘The US military-industrial complex (MIC) that US President Eisenhower warned about in 1961 was actually nothing new. The US state from its very beginnings in the colonial state, was a state of forever war, especially to the original peoples of the Americas and then to the enslaved Africans and other exploited peoples. It is now a multinational industry based in Washington.
Those academics and other cheerleaders who praise US democracy seem happy, or are paid, to ignore this settler reality. Those who think that Orange-utan Trump is an aberration, and Scranton Joe will come riding in like their comic book cavalry to save them from the Indians, should keep dreaming but leave us out of the nightmare. War is their mother, father and son. The Holy Trinity. We must gird our loins.
After Eisenhower’s so-called warning, this US military-industrial complex has exponentially expanded its power and profits. National security dollars, mentality and interests have infiltrated every US government department, domestic welfare and international human rights, and domestic policing, fully impacting the evolution and structure of private industry. War funds feed such giants as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, et al, and filter through subcontractors and supportive ‘civilian’ firms and organizations to influence “professional and business services, financial, information and administrative services, retail trade, leisure and hospitality services, education and health services, construction, and other manufacturing”.
The so-called Great Depression of the 1930s led to great war as a solution to great unemployment. Private capital was no longer capable of providing full employment. War spending was viewed as a convenient solution for spending because of the popular acceptance of ‘defense’ compared to other deficit expenditures.
In 1933, John Maynard Keynes promoted military spending, advising US President Roosevelt, “stimulation of output by increasing aggregate purchasing power is the right way to get prices up” and “in a slump governmental loan expenditure is the only sure means of securing quickly a rising output at rising prices. That is why a war has always caused intense industrial activity. In the past orthodox finance has regarded war as the only legitimate excuse for creating employment by governmental expenditure.”
Claiming to battle the depression, Roosevelt’s New Deal increased spending on agriculture, industry, irrigation and conservation programs employing 10,000s, especially WW1 vets and military personnel, creating new agencies and programs to buy support with “political rents”. When Roosevelt tried to cut these programs, the vets would threaten to march on Washington. WW2 loomed as an answer.
Within the working class, Roosevelt faced 2 tendencies: those manufacturing and trade unions against war (the isolationists) who felt they would take the brunt of recruitment and wage controls, vs those industrial unions with ties to military production. Unions were also divided into those unionists who favored preparation against invasion, those who worried soldiers would be used against workers, and those who wished to boycott Japanese and German goods, and those who wished to keep wars within the Western Hemisphere.
The US then banned Japan from the Pacific Ocean, which resulted in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Germany also overran much of Europe. This enabled US entry into that war. In return for promising not to go on strike, the unions got promises of federal government protection for unions and workers.
After WW1, many in the US had felt that the capitalist profits were the main reason for US entry into that war. 21,000 millionaires and billionaires had been created by that war. But with the depression, the US government also fully funded the military industries, especially the aviation industry, which promised to create jobs and preserve the industrial base, in exchange for risk-free profits.
In 1939, as WW2 loomed, Keynes gave his famous BBC address “Will Re-armament Cure Unemployment?” in which he predicted the permanent war economy as a silver lining to war when he announced: “The grand experiment has begun. If it works, if expenditure on armaments really does cure unemployment, I predict that we shall never go back all the way to the old affairs… Good may come out of evil. We may learn a trick or two, which will come in useful when the day of peace comes.”
However, during WW2, military planners decided that a depression would reappear if war spending was stopped. Threatening the USSR with war was needed. Countries should not be allowed to escape being indebted to the USA (England was deep in hock).
The negative consequences of war expenditure, the lobbying and rent-seeking by capitalists seeking a share of government-aided profits were overlooked. Anti-Communism and, since 2001, the “war on terror”, has kept the military-industrial complex busy. An entire “terrorism industry” arose, with consultants, experts, pundits….
(from: “The Origins of the Permanent War Economy”, Thomas Duncan & Christopher Coyne)
B3. War Economy Preceded Planning in India
The threat of Japan attacking India frightened the English and the Indian Congress alike. The English War Cabinet’s first directive to their new Viceroy Lord Wavell in 1943: ‘Your first duty is the defence of India from Japanese menace and invasion’. The new war priority overrode its earlier law and order concerns.
District officers now had to encourage recruitment for the army, collect contributions for war funds, track down army deserters, provide help to refugees, organize air-raid precautions, supervise rationing, and procure foodgrains. Magistrates found that ‘touring had to be cut down to a series of lightning forays, often to track down and requisition stocks of hoarded rice’.
Most of India never became an English-Japanese battlefield like much of Asia, but the whole country was sucked into the war effort. Most war factories were concentrated in Bengal. As white refugees poured in from Burma, invasion seemed imminent. Parts of Bengal became virtually military camps, with endless demand for land and buildings, with many 1000s of troops from England, the USA, Africa, Australia and China stationed there.
The English army demanded supplies of food, guns, ammunition, uniforms, sheets, blankets, tents, boots, medicines, drink and tobacco. India’s chief industrial contribution was textiles. Steel was also manufactured by the Tata Steel Works, largest in the English Empire. Contributing people and materials, India became a huge supply base in WW2.
New government posts and departments proliferated, employing huge numbers of people. New policies were announced. New legislations was enacted. The Defence of India Rules issued a stream of ordinances: a Controller of Capital Issues, a Supply Department, a policy of price control, foreign exchange control, as well as control of imports and exports. Massive amounts of money had to be raised. Balancing the budget was forgotten, deficit finance undertaken.
Foreign-exchange control was first introduced in Sept 1939, under the Defence of India Rules. In March 1947, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act put exchange control on a statutory footing. It was extended until 1957, when it was made permanent.
Controls were not an outcome of socialist ideology but from the English war economy. The entire apparatus of controls already existed before ‘the age of planning’ was ushered in 1951.
The war economy needed very high rates of taxation, sales tax being a major source of revenue. Price-stability vs growth, management and planning vs free markets, closed economy vs freer international trade, public sector as against private enterprise, controls and high taxes – these were all rooted in the English war, creating the ‘License-Permit Raj’.
While the English rulers of India boasted of peace, Pax Britannica, of the security engendered by imperialism, anarchy was allayed by dictatorship (despite massive famines, partition). Curing impoverishment? They left that to the will of the gods.
In the 1940s the English state in India had to gradually undertake a huge new responsibility. Government officials haphazardly began to intervene in the grain market. When grain prices rose in the United Provinces in 1941, anxious district magistrates began to impose price controls. In 1942 Punjab, deputy commissioners were empowered to fix maximum prices. Chaos resulted. ‘By conviction I hold with Adam Smith but in a crisis like this I am prepared to accept 100 % control’, confessed one governor.
Then the Great English famine in Bengal of 1943 killed 3 million people. England was more worried about Indian disorder and riots, that munitions production would stop, that army food supply would dry up, with soldiers diverted to maintain law and order, affecting morale (Indian soldiers, affected by the sight of starvation, had already begun to disobey orders and feed beggars with their rations).
Worried it would jeopardize India’s role as a war base, Auchinleck, Army Commander in Chief in India declared: ‘The import of food is to my mind just as if not more important than the import of munitions from the point of view of the coming operations against Japan’. The English chiefs of staff agreed: They appointed a Foodgrains Policy Committee, and recommended government procurement, rationing and price controls. Rationing was extended to cover sugar, edible oils, coarse cloth, kerosene, in addition to foodgrains.
They set up a huge public distribution system after 1942. Government economic control over the economy changed fast. The colonial state wanted to stick to its laissez-faire policy, but military demands and expenditure overturned this policy. India’s rationing apparatus was born out of WW2.
Rationing increased towards the end of the war, and then accelerated after the war. Apart from foodgrains, kerosene and sugar, the United Provinces government also controlled cloth, iron and steel, paper, gur sugar, salt, wood-fuel – a wider range of commodities than ever before. 130 million people depended on government rations in April 1946. The colonial state, for the first time in its history, directly committed itself to feeding a large part of the population.
The state’s new interventionist role was challenged after independence. Several politicians felt administrative personnel engaged in controls could be released for other more productive tasks. Constantly debated in the press and among the public, controls caused the deepest divisions in independent India’s cabinet, coming up at almost every cabinet meeting.
Controls were lifted December 1947, due to Mahatma Gandhi’s horror at the corruption: officials taking bribes, leaving people hungry. Gandhi made speech after speech against food and cloth controls, but most bureaucrats disagreed. Only controls on foodgrains, cloth and sugar were lifted. The government hoped decontrol would bring out more stocks and distributed without serious hoarding or profiteering.
A month before being assassinated by Godse, Gandhi told a prayer meeting in Delhi: ‘I will say that control should go. Some people argue rationing has brought much relief to cities. I think it should be removed from the cities too. If everyone conducts himself honestly there will be no need for controls.’
Decontrol turned out to be an utter disaster. Prices shot up and rationing and food controls were reimposed in October 1948. Failed harvests 1947-52 prevented further decontrol experiments. Despite interludes without rationing, the procurement and distribution of food remained, for the next 5 decades, one of the major tasks of the Government of India.
Wartime economic controls inaugurated an economic policy regime in India till 1991. Often assumed to be the outcome of socialist ideology, it was born out of a war economy. Thus, strangely, an imperial war effort moulded an independent nation state. After rationing during the 1940s, about one third of the population of India began to look to the state for its food supply. “This was indeed a profound change: it meant that the state and the people met more often. Moreover, while a police thana was almost always a place to avoid; a ration shop was a place to go to without fear, and regularly.”
(adapted from Indivar Kamtekar’s “The Wartime Paternity of India’s ‘Licence-Permit Raj’”)
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines and links to gain a sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ mainly to expose the backwardness of a multinationally controlled ‘local media’:
(ee is pro-politics, pro-politician, pro-nation-state, anti-corporatist, anti-expert, anti-NGO)
ee Sovereignty news emphasizes sovereignty as economic sovereignty – a strong nation is built on modern industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• Ranawaka wants country’s defence strategy focused on Navy
• Key takeaways from Indian NSA’s visit
‘Eastern Container Terminal in Colombo port to proceed with an Indian and Japanese stake. Establish Secretariat in Colombo for Trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation. India to build houses in the south as in the north and east. Tamil National Alliance persuaded to pay attention to economic development while seeking devolution of power’
• India’s National Security Advisor & TNA leader discuss development of North-East
‘In an apparent last-minute addition to his two-day itinerary…’
• India pushes Tamil National Alliance towards economic development issues
• India pledges to deepen economic ties with SL
• India, cajoled by US, seeks to pressure small nations
‘India intends to exploit its advantages in geopolitics, culture and religion to rope in Sri Lanka to contain China, counter the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and consolidate India’s influence in South Asia.’
• Query on Indian National Security Advisor’s visit disallowed
‘whether the visit had anything to do with handing over the Eastern Jetty of the Colombo Port to India.’
• President, Doval in fruitful discussion
‘Indo-Lanka security cooperation, maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean region, infrastructure development in Sri Lanka were among the major topics discussed’
• Indian Defence Adviser calls on Commander of the Air Force
‘Captain VikasSood, the Defence Adviser to the High Commission of India in Colombo called on the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana… accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Puneet Sushil, the Assistant Defence Advisor to the High Commission of India in Colombo’
• Failure to proscribe TNA after the war was a mistake: Sarath Weerasekara
• Minister Weerasekera and TNA’S Sumanthiran clash over LTTE commemorations
• Tamils vs LTTE: Prabakaran vs Wijeweera
• Former LTTE couple arrested with a claymore mine planned two attacks – Police
• LTTE banned in every country in Europe, not given up violence and terrorism – FM Dinesh
• Malaysian cops hunt for ‘LTTE Commander’
• Foreign policy: Flawed perspectives, impending crisis – Jayatilleka
‘Denoting a tectonic shift, the regime is the most hawkish, absolutist, militarist, ethno-hegemonistic, ideologically rigid and extremist, unilateralist, and the remotest from the liberal-democratic ‘open society’ model and global political community, ever in the island’s post-Independence history.’
• High Commissioner says LTTE demonstrations in England a policing matter
• Disgrace – UK Commemorates Dead LTTE Terrorists By Lighting UK Parliament – Waduge
• 11 years after LTTE defeat – Terrorist Prabakaran a money-making commodity
• Gajendrakumar alleges Govt. rejected offer to release war trapped civilians
• England Police probe mercenaries from Sri Lanka’s civil war
• UNHRC Resolution 40/1 and International Law
• Pro-LTTE activists organize grand ‘Heroes Day’ commemoration in the UK
• Christian churches promoted disunity in Sri Lanka
• Political leadership is necessary to resolve protracted conflicts: USAID NPC Perera
• Paradise Restored – End the kakistocracy and make this resplendent isle great again
• Never said Sri Lanka ia failed state: Sajith
• Can Sri Lanka afford anti-Americanism?
• Sri Lankan origin Dileeni appointed new Governor of Anguilla
• The Roshni Act Abrogated
‘The Act granted ownership of Jammu and Kashmir state land to the illegal-occupants’
• US-Backed Thai Mobs Remove Barriers at Army Base
• CNN’s ‘Blame China’ Document Leak Shows That China Did Nothing Wrong
‘The Trump administration has tried to blame China for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. US agencies have invested some efforts to obtain documents from China that might provide proof for that. At least some of those documents were now leaked to CNN which has published them as The Wuhan Files. But the documents do not show any malfeasance from China’s side.’
• “Uighurs forced to eat pork” – Horror Stories By Chinese Defector Seem To Evolve
• Saudi overtures to Qatar and Turkey bring results
‘Israel and the UAE will not like Saudi Arabia’s normalisation with Qatar and Turkey.’
• Biden inherits Middle East’s grapes of wrath
‘UAE’s MbZ was most certainly instrumental in dragging Saudi Arabia into the war in Yemen, instigating Saudi Arabia’s rupture with Qatar (the only other Muslim country with a Wahhabi religious establishment), and the souring of ties with Turkey.’
• Netanyahu is the winner in Fakhrizadeh’s murder
‘“Alongside drip irrigation and cherry tomatoes, there are few areas in which Israel takes more pride than what it calls “targeted killings,” which are in fact acts of murder by the state.” That is a fair assessment of the state of Israel today.’
• Israel gets boxed in as Iran issue surges
‘A groundswell of opinion in the US favours engagement with Iran, while there is general agreement that Israel did carry out the killing of the Iranian scientist.’
• A call for Europe to bolster transatlantic diplomacy on Iran
‘A joint statement by ECFR Council Members is calling for European governments to work with the incoming Biden administration to bolster the Iran nuclear deal’
• Why the Assassination of a Scientist Will Have No Impact on Iran’s Nuclear Program
“The glaring irony of the sensational operation is that it will probably have a negligible impact on Iran’s nuclear program. “No individual is crucial in a nuclear program like this anymore.”
• A crime of utmost savagery
• UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people
• The US, the coronavirus and the plight of Palestine
• Ethiopia: War in Tigray
‘All Tigray’s cities have now been taken by federal troops, but almost none of the rural areas.’
• US Plot Relying on Extradition Targets Peace in Colombia
‘Agrarian reform, prioritized by the FARC negotiators, is moribund. Food-producing crops were to have substituted for coca production, but aerial fumigation with glyphosate has returned, The peace agreement provided for the former guerrillas’ safety. But 242 former combatants plus 1,055 social and community activists have been killed…. Extradited to the United States in late 2004, FARC leader Simon Trinidad specialized in negotiations and political education. He is serving a 60-year sentence, in isolation, at the supermax federal prison in Colorado. Trinidad escaped conviction on narco-trafficking charges, but went to prison on a charge of conspiring to capture three U.S. drug-war contractors, after FARC gunfire brought their plane down.’
• Biden says ‘America is back’. But will his team of insiders repeat their old mistakes?
‘Avril Haines, whom Biden has nominated to direct national intelligence, helped both devise and limit targeted killings in a CIA stint”
• Six Buddhist temples vandalized across Little Saigon in USA this month
‘24% rise in hate crimes from 2018. Last year also marked the fifth straight year of increasing hate crimes in the county. With the ongoing pandemic and backlash targeting Asian Americans, officials worry the number of hate crimes will continue to grow.’
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of legitimate violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of legitimate violence), and how the ‘national security’ doctrine is undermined by private interests, with no interest in divulging or fighting the real enemy, whose chief aim is to prevent an industrial renaissance as the basis of a truly independent nation.
• Defence Ministry votes passed with majority minus SJB
• Outgoing and incoming Aussie Defence Advisers call on Chief of Defence Staff
• NSA Maritime Security Meeting: 3 Countries Agree to Trilateral Cooperation
• Three Russian ships to leave Trincomalee today
• Treasury bond scams: Judicial process further delayed, Mahendran safe in Singapore
• Gone beyond clusters: Prof. Tissa Vitarana
• 24 advocacy groups say Sri Lanka’s forced COVID-19 cremation victims will not give up fight
• Innocence and guilt in accusation and punditry
‘Interestingly, the horror-stricken alluded to above have been and still are comfy in making out that accusation amounts to guilt. The Sri Lankan security forces have been berated over their heads for more than a decade with this twisted club.’
• April Terror coverup?
‘Reminding the government of its pledge to have the terrorist bombings probed thoroughly, the Cardinal said that unless its promise was fulfilled, they would have to think of an alternative. He can rest assured that all Sri Lankans who abhor terrorism are on his side.’
• “Hate Speech” by Cardinal Ranjith Threaten Government With 7.4% Religious Group!
• Essential to investigate and determine who is promoting extremism : Cardinal
‘After receiving a file which contained information on the Sharia University from SJB MP Dr. Kavinda Jayawardena , the Cardinal said the government should not sweep investigations under the carpet but should carry out an investigation to determine the two facts which he mentioned.’
• Politics as usual no remedy for Islamic extremism
• Police Spokesman tells PCoI detention of terror suspects should be decided by DIG not court
• Easter Sunday carnage: How P CoI boomeranged on former Prez Sirisena
• Illegal bottom trawling by Indians: Lanka collects data, tough action being taken
• Why Can’t Other Cases be Disposed like High Profile Cases?
• Former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe influenced the judiciary through Ranjan – Arundika
• High Court Judges who were not promoted take their grievances to President and CJ
• New judges appointed…
‘Six new Judges to the Supreme Court and 14 new Judges to the Court of Appeal…’
• Mahara Prison Riot was pre-planned to defame the government; Weerawansa
• Prisoners’ rights activists slam Mahara incident as massacre
• Mastermind of prison violence identified – Police Spokesman
• Lowering of guard within prisons, due to corona, opened floodgates for contraband – Sudarshini
• Bullets beat virus to it
‘The knee-jerk reaction of the government was to blame the prison riot on an invisible hand.’
• What happened at Mahara: Conspiracy OR sudden unrest ?
• Mahara prison riot: How pills meant for mental patients triggered violence
• JVP attributes prison riot to unrest among inmates
• Mastermind of prison violence identified – Police Spokesman
• Internal and external forces do not want to see Sri Lanka progress
• “Do not cremate bodies of Mahara detainees until inquest over” – Human Rights Commission
• Lohan new State Minister of Prisons Management
• Govt takes full responsibility for Mahara prison riot: Keheliya
• Sri Lanka: Coronavirus Fears Trigger Prison Riot Killing 11, 100+ Injured
‘Sri Lankan prisons are currently running at three times their recommended capacity…’
• Inmates killed during prison riot had not suffered any gunshot injuries – Lohan
• Sajith blames ‘Viyathmaga doc’
• Police force will be increased to 100,000: Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara
• Senior police officer victimised for fault of being too good!
‘I am referring to the victimisation being perpetrated on SSP Shani Abeyasekera.’
• Dr. Wignaraja joins Pathfinder Foundation as Senior Visiting Fellow
• Ex-SIS Chief in CIABOC
• Where is democracy if people’s privacy & personal data are not protected? – Sunil Abeyaratne
• COVID-19 likely in the US in mid-December 2019, weeks before virus first identified in China.
• Sec. of State Nominee Antony Blinken Made “Victory Speech” after 2015 Rajapaksa Defeat
‘at the time deputy secretary of state, delivered… at the Sri Lankan Independence Day celebration in Washington, an event headed by Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam.’
• US Director of National Intelligence – China Copying US Plan for ‘Kill-proof’ Soldiers
‘DARPA’s twenty-first-century kill-proof soldier, with its unfair advantage of deathlessness, is a conception of the supersoldier as biomedical superhero…’
• NATO Needs to Adapt Quickly to Stay Relevant for 2030, Report Urges
‘After France’s president said NATO was suffering “brain death,” the alliance sought advice on how to stay vibrant as it faces new challenges from Russia and China.’
• Potential Biden Officials’ Firm Is Promising Big Profits Off Those Connections
‘Former government officials Tony Blinken, Michele Flournoy & Lloyd Austin may run Biden’s national security agencies — their firm is telling investors it expects to profit off ties to those officials.’
• Everyone’s history matters: The Wampanoag Indian Thanksgiving story deserves to be known
C3. Economists (Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
ee Economists shows how paid capitalist/academic ‘professionals’ confuse (misdefinitions, etc) and divert (with false indices, etc) from the steps needed to achieve an industrial country.
• SL’s alternative policy path not understood: CB chief
‘Says rating agencies and other international orgs. used to traditional thinking remain sceptical of SL’s alternative policy… Sri Lanka is introducing groundbreaking reforms to improve the domestic production economy, enhance exports and reduce foreign debt dependence’
• European Union overreacting to Sri Lanka import controls: CB Governor
• Gotabaya urges developing economies to exploit COVID-triggered opportunities
• Enhancing revenue and pruning expenditure vital to tame fiscal deficit – Sanderatne
‘Bold decisions are needed to enhance revenue by a comprehensive programme of progressive taxation, cutting down non-productive and wasteful expenditure, reform loss making state enterprises to reduce government expenditure and an effective implementation of development projects that increase the country’s output and exports.’
• Budgeting in troubled waters – Reductio Ad Abeyratnum
‘The countries that are comfortable with using the money printing machine in recessions are those which had performed well in their export growth and had accumulated significantly large stocks of foreign reserves.’
• People do not have even the simplest literacy in economics – Wijewardena
• Retrieving SL’s economy from the mud – FDI is the mantra.
• The lack of wealth accumulation in Sri Lanka
‘we see promising initiatives such as the recently-launched, US-led ‘Sri Lanka@100’ to promote people-led economic development in Sri Lanka’
• G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative limited in scope
• Analysis of China’s rise and US and Russia’s decline; Stiglitz
‘and a critique of IMF, Havard and USAID policy advice and advisors’
• The IMF should turn to special drawing rights in its Covid-19 response
‘An issue of SDRs would help developing countries inadequately covered by current financial safety nets’ – governor of the People’s Bank of China
• China has overtaken the US – says IMF
‘Everybody knows that IMF is pro-US in its approach in matters of global finance and economy’
C4. Economy (Usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how the economy is usually measured by false indices like GDP, etc, and in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, while calling for privatization and deregulation, etc.
• Tax disadvantages faced by local industrialists importing machinery
‘Rs. 1,196.8 billion spent on importing machinery during the yahapalana government.’
• Customs suffered Rs. 6.1 bn loss from palm oil companies due to negligence
• German envoy expresses hope SL will ease import restrictions
• Econ policies medieval, restrictive and akin to North Korea: Sajith
‘Expresses alarm at EU concerns over import restrictions’
• Sri Lanka extends exchange controls till mid 2021
‘In 2020 Sri Lanka suspended a general permission under the country’s exchange control laws that allowed companies to invest in foreign stocks, securities or sovereign bonds as the rupee came under pressure due to money printing.’
• SL extends validity period to open Special Deposit Accounts; permission to retain funds
• SL will boost FDI, repay debt, innovate ways to work amid Coroanvirus: President
• Bleak economy, market mafia and militarised rule
‘Even though open and free competition is touted as State policy, in actual fact there are monopolistic and oligopolistic elements operating in certain sectors, particularly in the supply of staples like rice…The President and his government were brought to power by the joint effort of Big Capital, Sangha and the security. The home-grown rice mafia and its associates are part of that Big Capital.’
• Private sector an equal partner in economic revival: Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya
• 2018 Income Deficit of the Inland Revenue Department is Rs. 1.3 trillion
• President calls for bold investments from pvt. sector
‘Urges private sector to live up to its ‘engine of growth’ reputation’
• Government introduces new taxes to raise revenue
‘In a bid to collect sizable tax revenue of around Rs.51 billion for 2021, the government has introduced a revised Cess tax on imports in addition to normal import duty on 2534 items including some essential commodities which is expected to lead to an increase in prices of key commodities.’
• Sri Lanka’s inflation at 4.1-pct in November 2020
‘Food prices rose 1.2 percent during the month, and non-foods 0.2 percent, driven up mostly by a rise in transport costs.’
• Govt. ramps up borrowing in October; CB allays inflationary fears
• Sri Lanka prints Rs50bn more, excess liquidity tops Rs230bn
• Sri Lanka private loans grow for third month in Oct 2020, CB credit surges
• Foreign debt manageable – CB Governor
• Sri Lanka to cut foreign debt share to 40-pct in 2021, ride MMT: CB Governor
• Govt’s foreign non-concessional debt-to-GDP around 23%: CB Chief at Econ Summit
‘International financial organisations, rating agencies, many analysts in mainstream economics, and obviously the political opposition, are depicting a bleak outlook for Sri Lanka…As we reorient our economic strategy and focus on elevating the economy to an innovative production economy, let me reiterate the need for one and all to partake not only through investments but also knowledge transfers, enhanced productivity, and simply through challenging the status quo.
• Rating action by Fitch baseless
• Fitch Downgrades SriLankan Airlines’ Government-Guaranteed Bonds to ‘CCC’
• Fitch says SL Banking Sector downside risks elevated
• Capital decline in SL banks likely as COVID-19 creates uneven recoveries: Moody’s
• US$ 4bn IMF programme crucial to improve Sri Lanka’s debt sustainability: Advocata
• CBSL selects SimCorp for reserve management
• In search of every dollar
‘It seems the Government’s economists want to emulate the two financial hubs in this part of the world, viz., Singapore and Dubai. These city-states are centres for ‘hot money’… When the former President asked for certain bank account details from the Emir in Dubai, or when the former Government called for the extradition of the former Central Bank Governor of Sri Lanka, both countries refused because investor confidence was paramount, and to hell with cooperation on corruption.’
• Sri Lanka prints money to finance deficits, CB Credit tops Rs700 billion
• Budget & external sector in changing global order – Collective for Economic Democracy
‘The Government has not backed up its rhetoric about import substitution. The lack of foreign earnings to pay for imports provoked the initial shift. But the Government has avoided allocating the necessary resources in the Budget to increase local production… the Opposition claims an IMF agreement would strengthen “investor confidence.” The Opposition’s naiveté regarding the interests of global investors, who are running to safe assets, parallels the government’s extravagant claims that it can leverage the interests of powerful external actors. ‘
• JVP wants govt. to present an amended budget
• The Gender of Budget 2021
• Verité Budget Check 2021
• Budget benefits through ICTs
‘At present, for every Rs. 100 we pay for voice calls, we pay an additional Rs. 37.7 in taxes to the State; for every Rs. 100 we spend on data, we give Rs. 19.7 to the State in taxes.’
• SJB lambastes LPL series
• Vietnam among fastest to grow in the world, IMF says after refusing to ‘live with Covid-19’
• Why Sri Lanka cannot be a Vietnam, Coronavirus response: Bellwether
• Annual reports of all government institutions should be submitted within the stipulated time period – COPE
• RCEP, the world’s largest trading bloc, signed up amidst pandemic
• Envisioning an Asia-Pacific Economic Union in the Next Decade and its Benefits for Sri Lanka
‘With US elections symbolising a greater social and political amalgamation of national powers, greater trade through global and regional policy reforms are becoming more prevalent.’
• Unilever SL Chief moots partnerships, brand building for revival post-COVID
• For German economy depending heavily on exports, China is an irreplaceable partner.
• Pandemic profiteers
‘Chief executives of companies like Zoom and Skype providing videoconferencing, and Amazon providing online shopping to citizens under lockdown. Yet the success has not translated into better wages and safety conditions for their employees…. incoming Joe Biden administration in the US has received extensive funding from the pharmaceutical industry’
• U.S. billionaires are one-third richer than before the coronavirus struck.
‘Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon & the Washington Post & the guy that runs the cloud where the CIA keeps its secrets, grew richer by $70 billion during the Covid crisis – a $2 billion per week increase in wealth.’
• COVID-19 to push people living in extreme poverty to over 1 bn by 2030:UNDP study
• Vaccine Nationalism? An Incurable Disease Called Hope
• Oxford vaccine will benefit low and middle income countries
• Competition between vaccine profiteers
C5. Workers (Inadequate Stats, Wasteful Transport, Unmodern Plantations, Services)
ee Workers attempts to correct the massive gaps and disinformation about workers, urban and rural and their representatives (trade unions, etc), and to highlight the need for organized worker power
• Missing Fisherman’s body found, 3 days after he was washed away
• Health professionals will take serious decisions in providing their service: GMOA
• Period poverty or period capitalism?
‘The current conversation around sanitary pads appears to be 1. A top down imposition by think-tanks, parties, and a few elite women who are the main consumers of imported sanitary products, and 2. An attempt to “pinkwash” trade liberalisation, by giving it the progressive – in this case feminist – veneer that it lacks in Sri Lanka’s public consciousness.’
• Around 70% of Sri Lanka’s work force informally employed – World Bank report
• Facilitating night work for women in Sri Lanka – IPS
‘Factoring in additional costs involved in working in the night when determining minimum wages will motivate more women to engage in night work.’
• Dematagoda residents demand concessions amidst COVID-19
• Prison inmates used to profit off private Maize cultivation
• How to pay more than Rs. 1,000 per day to tea estate workers
‘Leaf plucking is done by one machine for the whole plantation – therefore there is only one tea plucker at any time and plucking is a 24-hour operation’
• NSB introduces special credit scheme for shrimp farming industry
‘Sri Lanka Aquaculture Development Alliance comprises of 18 farmers’ societies, breeding center societies, seafood societies and shrimp feed societies in Puttlam District, in which the shrimp farming industry is mainly centralized’
• Decent work for fishers: Towards ratifying the ILO work in fishing convention 188
• Think of poor women, girls & Health
• Children climb on to 60-feet high water tank for online education
• Japan supports project to improve facilities of Special Needs Children’s Centre in Buttala
• ADB to support secondary education reforms in SL with $400 million loan
• Kottu makers earn more than teachers
• Ceylon Teachers Union: Unqualified acting principals in leading urban and rural schools
• Nearly 4000 Education College graduates awaiting teaching appointments
• Two research laboratories opened at University of Jaffna
‘This project is an international collaborative work with the Arizona State University – USA and Chalmers University of Technology – Sweden.’
• Labour Minister to meet TUs this week
‘political critics of the Government alleging that the proposed idea of increasing the retirement age was to manipulate and embezzle the EPF funds by playing the stock market which has resulted in the staggering losses in the past’
• Free Trade Zone Manufacturers Association cautions Govt. on increased retirement age
‘there is no flexibility in labour laws with regard to part-time work, working from home etc. as rights of workers have been defined based on full-time employment’
• EPF Act amendment to extend the retirement age brings hidden issues into the limelight
‘The EPF represents the largest source of funds for government domestic borrowing, exceeding even the amounts contributed by savings institutions and commercial banks.
• INSEE Cement continues investment in mason development across Sri Lanka
• Covid, budget and the common man – EDITORIAL
“The United Federation Of Labour emphasises around 200,000 workers -mainly minor staff in the hotel industry have been furloughed…under the National Labour Advisory Council Agreement, workers’ salaries have been slashed by over 50%, with unionised workers receiving around Rs. 14,500/- per month. Workers on the tea and rubber plantations -persons who bring in the second largest section of the country’s foreign exchange earnings- continue to receive a daily wage of Rs. 750/- per day for less than 20 days work a month. Paddy and vegetable farmers continue to be fleeced by money lenders and middlemen who purchase their crop for a pittance & resell the product to consumers at exorbitant rates.
• Companies, factories must appoint Health Committees to monitor employees
‘About 190 construction workers, a majority of them Indians, were tested positive in two leading construction sites in Kompannaveediya and Galle Face resulting in about 1500 workers being placed under quarantine in their hostels. ‘
• MAS factory workers in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka, discuss concerns over pandemic
‘Workers of the MAS Holdings-owned Vaanavil and Vidiyal garment factories in Kilinochchi in northern Sri Lanka are working without social distancing or adequate health facilities to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic.’
• Vitarana says there could be 80% asymptomatic transmission
• Minister sacks SLMC chief and four others; medical community divided over dramatic move
• Medical experts should handle Covid, not trade unionists – GMOF tells Health Minister
• SL needs proactive, decisive investment in health, not dependence, denial, and wishful-thinking
• More female riders could boost revenues for ride-hailing in Sri Lanka, finds new IFC study
• Academics Group and IvyPlus Network launch ‘IVY Girls Lead’ Sri Lanka Edition
‘Academics Group co-founder and CEO, Kandeban Balendran. Kandeban is a Harvard fellow and was recently featured by the prestigious Harvard Business School…’
• More on the Burghers
• Brexit Promoters Lament Predictable Brexit Results
‘Some 10,000 trucks cross the channel on ferries each day, moving about half of all goods between the U.K. and the continent’
• Sick and Tired of Virus Banalities
‘I do not want to hear any of the following again: “We are following the science.” “We have to open-up the economy.” “We are all in this together.” These soothing motherhood statements are meant to distort. They pervert the meaning of science, the nature of the economy, and the meaning of solidarity. They are used to legitimate unnecessary pain and suffering.’
• If Unions Had Organized the South, Could Trump Have Been Avoided?
‘liberal anti-communism, as practiced by the UAW under Reuther and the USWA under Philip Murray, aligned itself with racists and fascists.’
• AIDS claim 40 million worldwide since 1981
C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize on an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to protect the rural home market. Also, importation of agricultural machinery, lack of rural monetization and commercialization, etc.
• Is there secret agenda behind indifference to land management policy reform in SL?
‘Bim Saviya is not working because it is based on an alien system, the Australian Torrens Title system’
• Sri Lanka plans to list state-run hotels and land firm Selendiva in 2021: Treasury Secy
• Chinese firms gets contract to build 27.7 km tunnel in NCP
‘constructed from Koduruwawa to Namalpura via the conserved forests and sanctuaries in Girithale and Hurulu as a package of Mahaweli Water Security Investment Program which is implemented with funds of the Asian Development Bank.’
• Prof. Vitarana says co-op movement only way to save farmers from middlemen
• Activation of Village Committees: President
• Sri Lanka in import substitution drive to be self-sufficient in food, turmeric
• Trade Minister explains how yahapalana govt. threatened country’s food security
• 8 ministers of agriculture since 1994
• Sathosa stores instructed to reduce cost of brown sugar
• Govt. losing revenue by appeasing private sugar businessmen : MP Dissanayake
‘the Special Commodity Levy on a kilo of sugar had been reduced from Rs 50 to 25 cents, to allow an ally of the state-owned retailer Sathosa’s chairman to import the commodity.’
• Hashim criticizes government over unfulfilled promises on utility bills and commodities
• No money, paddy or rice Millers checkmate Government
• Not a single seed farm has been started in SL since 1990 — Anura Kumara Dissanayake
‘The seed farms we had were sold. Seed farms at Pelvehera, Hingurakgoda and China farm between Thamuttagama and Talawa were sold to CIC. The Mahailuppallama seed farm today is abandoned to become a forest of ipil-ipil. There was a plan to sell that too off to a Bangladesh company in 2018.’
• JVP draws govt. attention to country’s fast receding water table
• Towards a people-centered economy: Budget 2021
‘Around 30% of land is used for cultivation of food crops and planation crops. About two million smallholder farmers living in rural areas and cultivating around 900,000 ha produce most of the food the country requires. Approximately, 800,000 ha are under planation crops such as tea, rubber and coconut, and about 20% of exports are produced by those working on these estates. Thus, those in rural areas including estates contribute to the economy of the country to a great extent. Sri Lanka is a land of villages and there are around 14,000 of them. A majority of the population, nearly 80 percent, live in villages and on estates.’
• Sierra Cables posts Rs. 2.2 bn revenue in 2Q
‘Sierra Industries was awarded a new tender recently by the National Water Supply & Drainage Board to the value of Rs 460 million for the Supply of uPVC pipes and fittings for Western South, Sabaragamuwa, Central, North Central, North Western, Southern and Eastern Regions of the island, meeting the annual requirement.
• Extension service for cultivating rubber
‘decreased production of rubber and increased imports of RSS due to the extension mechanism’
• Coconut industry undergoes structural reforms
‘Exports are achieved using only 30 per cent of the country’s total nut production, they added. 70 per cent is consumed locally out of which 30-35 per cent is wasted in households due to traditional methods of extraction of milk for cooking purposes’
• Government doesn’t understand gaps in Agricultural Back-End: Sunshine’s Vish Govindasamy
• Introduction of tea growing to boost income of Sri Lanka’s coconut plantations
• Only tea factories that meet standards will be allowed to produce for export
• George Steuart to acquire HVA Foods
‘from the majority shareholder Rohan Fernando, who is also the current Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC. HVA has flagship brand Heladiv tea.’
• Kahawatte Plantations to capitalise Rs. 800 m related party debt via private placement
‘Forbes Plantations Ltd. owns 63.78% stake in Kahawatte Plantations whilst Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company owns 15.74%….Kahawatte Plantations Board of Directors comprises Merrill J. Fernando (Chairman), M.J. Fernando, M.D.A. Perera, D.P. Wickrematunga, D.C. Fernando, H.S. Ranaweera, N.M. Ameresekera, and A. Gunasekera.’
• Something fishy in Mawella
‘An anchorage is for big multiday boats which cannot come ashore. Mawella has 12 of these. They are parked in Kudawella. They are owned by just five people. Would the whole fisheries department bend over backwards to accommodate these five? Spend Rs.300 million on a 12-boat parking facility? Destroy all the traditional ‘Maadel’ fishers on the shore for it!?’
• Nestlé and Hatch partner for innovation solutions leveraging local ingredients
• Dambulla Economic Centre in chaos
• Avant Garde Maritime Services diversifies into Maize
• Inquiry into the local medicine developed against COVID-19 (Video)
• Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation owes Explanation
• Government should listen to the protesting Wildlife Officers
• New writ opens season to slash the country’s rainforest canopy
‘700,000 hectares of forest land condemned to face the axe before the altar of Mammon’
• CEJ now takes aim at proposed forest rape by the state
• More on rape of forests:
• No land for construction of a hotel in Muthurajawela: Central Environmental Authority
• Environmental assessment to be carried out for road through national park
• India Farmers protest
• Farmer protests in Delhi and the rise of the Sikhs – Editorial
‘These protests, by more than 30 farmer societies, are strongly backed by a slew of Canadian and European politicians comprising Sikhs as well as non-Sikhs… Despite being 1% of the Indian landmass, the state of Punjab today is called the bread basket of India as it contributes to nearly 39% of the country’s wheat production.’
• Farmers protest against recent agricultural reforms at the Delhi-Haryana state border
• Indian government invites protesting farmers for talks
• CPIM’s All India Kisan Sabha plays key role in building solidarity for farmers’ protest
• China buys Indian rice for first time in decades as supplies tighten
‘India is the world’s biggest exporter of rice and China is the biggest importer.’
• Singapore approves sale of lab-grown meat in world first
• UN warns of an impending famine with millions in danger of starvation
• English Farmers are facing an unclear future after Brexit
C7. Industry (False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry section notes the ignorance about industrialization, the buying of foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound.
• Relying on local expertise
‘A video where a 79-year-old veteran engineer addresses a meeting chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, discussing how Sri Lankan engineers are able to handle development work at much lower the cost charged by foreign contractors, is doing the rounds on social media.’
• Sri Lanka decides not to obtain foreign loans for projects
• President tells private sector to move beyond comfort zone seek out new opportunities
• ‘SOEs need reform to mitigate colossal losses’
‘SOEs were some of the largest corporates in the country, with the total turnover of 52 SOEs monitors by the Ministry of Finance amounting to about 14 percent of the GDP which is similar to the whole export sector which accounts to the same percentage…Every year the SOEs have been making losses and in 2019 the losses were about Rs 150 billion which was about 80 percent of the government health expenditure in the same year’
• JVP says govt. scrapping PUCSL to help its cronies
‘The PUCSL is also the designated regulator for petroleum and water services industries and has also been assigned as the shadow regulator for the lubricant market in Sri Lanka. A tug of war was seen brewing between the PUCSL and CEB during last few years over the long-term power generation plan for Sri Lanka, with the regulator favouring liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable energy sources over coal.’
– island.lk/jvp-says-govt-scrapping-pucsl-to-help-its-cronies/ – dailymirror.lk/business-news/government-orders-closure-of-PUCSL/273-201063
• Govt. under fire over its decision to abolish PUCSL
‘opposition lawmakers allege the CEB and some power producers had engineered the disbanding…’
• Public Utilities Commission can be abolished only by an Act – UNP Leader
• SL moves closer to policy on natural gas for power generation
‘Two natural gas deposits were discovered during exploration in the Gulf of Mannar…’
• Singapore-based BB Energy gets 8-month petrol import contract
• 35MW Broadlands hydro plant held up due to non-availability of Chinese experts
‘The Broadlands project is the last plant in the Lakshapana cascade power station complex on the Kelani River system, which was started 50 years ago.’
• Matters COPE overlooked: Norochcholai coal-fired power plant probe
• Insurance scheme to pay Rs. 1 mn compensation for electrocution due to electrical system error
• Sampath Bank Loan facilities for commercial and residential solar power projects
• ICTA Chairman Jayantha de Silva appointed Secretary to Ministry of Technology
‘Former Chairman of British Computer Society (BCS) and CEO IFS Sri Lanka, before quitting for public service.
• SLT Mobitel extends connectivity solutions in hinterland Uva
• CMA CGM vessels do maiden relay transshipment at HIP
• Japan to invest in Eastern Container Terminal, not give a loan
• Colombo Dockyard to build a vessel for Orange Marine France
‘The vessel has been designed by Vard Design AS of Norway… CDPLC operates in joint collaboration with Onomichi Dockyard Company Limited of Japan who owns a stake of 51% at Colombo Dockyard PLC. CDPLC also has a 35% shareholding by the Sri Lankan Government institutions.’
• Challenges to develop Sri Lanka as maritime hub
‘A massive amount of maritime cargo, nearly 45% from the Indian sub-continent transfers through the Port of Colombo’
• With Rajapaksas in power, US$ 13 billion Port City project gathering momentum
‘Last year, 43% of loans for major projects came from China, according to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Most of the country’s overall foreign debt is from international bonds, with around 10% owed to China.’
• SLPA begins work on Phase 5 of Jaya Container Terminal
• Setting up of equity fund to provide capital for SMEs a priority, states Cabraal
• Keells’ Susantha Ratnayake ends stint as BOI Chairman
‘The current Board of Directors of the BOI includes Dr. Harsha Cabral PC, Dr. Harsha Subasinghe, Dr. Sanjay Kulathunga and Jayamin Pelpola whilst the Director General is Sanjaya Mohottala.’
• EDB Chairman Prabhash Subasinghe steps down
• Suresh de Mel appointed Chairman of EDB
‘Lanka Fishing Flies Ltd., a pioneering export industry, was started by his father in 1981 as a cottage industry in their home in Nugegoda. Today the company employs 200 women in Tangalle, Ratnapura and Nugegoda, producing the world’s best quality fishing flies for export.’
• Pads pricing paradox
‘Local manufacturers who cater to over 95% of demand say recent 2021 Budget moves have zero effect on prices, dismissing criticism in social media and Opposition’
• Opponents of import control & attempting import substitution, tools of neocolonialists
‘Sri Lanka must not go for heavy industries’
• Grant permission to import vehicles purchased before March 20: SLAAJ
• Standard Chartered supports SL economic recovery via financing for PPE manufacturers
‘… Midas Safety Sri Lanka for medical gloves… to Dipped Products PLC for personal protective gloves destined for the US and the EU…to Haycarb PLC for face mask manufacturing …for garment manufacturers MAS Intimates and Brandix to export PPE to markets including the US.’
• Tipper truck runs over cop during sand mining racket raid
• Sri Lanka Association of Printers joins from SriLanka.com
• UN Development Programme & UN Global Compact Network Sri Lanka sign MoU
‘To ensure urgent priority is given for public-private partnerships’
• Archery Could Date Back 48,000 Years in South Asia
‘Ancient bow-and-arrow technology dating back some 48,000 years has been discovered in a Sri Lankan cave, making it the oldest evidence of archery to be found in this part of the world.’
• India blocks several Alibaba apps in widening Chinese blacklist
• Quantum computer created in China
‘Scientists in Anhui develop a machine far exceeding classical supercomputers’
• China spacecraft collects samples from moon to take back to Earth
• UK carmakers plead for clarity as they stockpile parts and cars for Brexit
• England Braces for Logistics Havoc as Brexit’s Final Act Looms
‘Some 10,000 trucks cross the English Channel on ferries each day and dozens of daily sailings move freight mainly between Dover in the U.K. and the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk.’
• The Deadly Life of Logistics
‘What is likely the most under-investigated revolution of the 20th century, the 1960s ‘revolution in logistics’ reshaped economic calculation and the space economy.’
• Swiss reject world’s strictest corporate responsibility rules
‘Multinationals are important drivers of the Swiss economy, which – at the end of 2018 – counted close to 29,000 such corporations, accounting for more than a quarter of all jobs in the country, according to official statistics.’
C8. Finance (Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, the curious role of ratings agencies, false indices, etc.
• LOLC Group supports National Pirith Chanting Ceremony
• Landmark judgment vindicates stand barring foreign brokers
• Monetary Board imposes time-bound maximum shareholder limits in finance companies
• Sri Lanka bank NPLs steady in Oct with 25-pct moratorium, non-banks improve
• Bounce in banking sector
• Pan Asia Bank Profit-before-tax soars by 47% to reach Rs. 1.86 billion for best ever 9-month
• BOC’s AT1 Capital Perpetual Bonds snapped up on opening day
• Monetary Board keeps annual licence fee for banks unchanged
• Vallibel Finance records solid 1H profits before tax Rs. 890 Million
• HNB decides to raise Rs. 7 b via 10-year debenture issue
• Seylan puts off debenture issue despite shareholder nod
• Asia Capital in talks with Japanese shareholders to settle legal battles
‘Asia Capital PLC’s(ACap) 72 per cent shareholder, Vijay Eswaran met with Japanese, owning 16 per cent in Acap with two Japanese directors on its board, who sued for US$18 million over investments made including in Shinagawa Beach Hotel Balapitiya, Taprobana Hotel Wadduwa, Kosgoda Beach Hotel, Galle Beach CC Trust and Asia Leisure Holdings.
• CB wants more Regulatory Technology products
• CB withdraws appointment of Natwealth Securities as a primary dealer
• LOLC Al-Falaah voted Best Islamic Leasing Provider by the largest margin
‘LOLC Al-Falaah, the Alternate Finance arm of LOLC Finance’
• SL stocks close 0.22 pct higher on Nestle Lanka, LOLC Development Finance and Cargills
• Retail investors account for approx. Rs.3bn of CSE turnover
• SL recorded the highest cryptocurrency mining encounters across the region: Microsoft
• Bank of Bhutan commends MTI for India Entry Strategy
‘BoB is 80% owned by Druk Holdings & Investments (DHI), which is Bhutan’s state investment holding company and 20% by State Bank of India (SBI).’
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Delay in Grand Hyatt project costs Rs.31.8bn to taxpayer
• ‘South Asia’s highest sky bridge’
• Unity Plaza owner acquired by Lanka Realty Investments
‘Lanka Realty Investments PLC, formerly Ascot Holdings PLC, today said it purchased 47.2 million shares of On’ally Holdings, which owns and operates Unity Plaza building in Bambalapitiya. Renuka Capital PLC, which had 40.7 million On’ally shares, which constituted to Rs.43.8 percent, sold its entire stake to Lanka … Urban Development Authority (UDA) owns 41.6 million shares of On’ally, which constitutes to 44.8 percent.’
• Indunil Liyanage appointed Condominium Management Authority General Manager
• Nawaloka Hospitals PLC records exemplary Profit after tax at Rs.15.9 million
• Tata Sons decides to bid for Air India
• Afghanistan & Sri Lanka to sign political consultations MOU and air agreement
• CIPM Member Admiral Piyal de Silva appointed ambassador to Afghanistan
• Community Party of China studied Greater Colombo Economic Commission
• Sri Lanka, Oman to enhance economic cooperation
• Australia says China trade curbs hurt global confidence
• Debenhams set to shut shop after 242 years as pandemic hammers UK retail
‘putting 12,000 jobs at risk in the country’s second major corporate failure in as many days. The decision to liquidate Debenhams (by its owners led by US hedge fund Silver Point Capital) comes after Philip Green’s Arcadia fashion group collapsed on Monday, threatening 13,000 jobs…’
• High Commissioner Kananathan presents Credentials in Kenya
‘Kenya which is an active member of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA). ‘
C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant media diversions and the mercantile and financial forces behind the political actors, of policy taken over by private interests minus public oversight.
• The Pohottuwa Government of Sri Lanka Part 2, C6, C7 B & D, E
• Priority for ‘citizen-centric digital governance’
• Reflections on a presidential speech, covid-19 contagion and deja vu
‘What we are facing is the common or garden path consequence of misrule where one set of self-serving authoritarians replaced another set of self-serving ‘democratic’ nincompoops who were too busy fighting with each other to govern properly while many on Colombo’s ‘liberal’ gravy train cheered, oblivious to danger signals early on.’
• Parliamentary Council ratifies President’s nominees for independent commissions
• Rohanadheera second woman to be Parliamentary Chief-of-staff
• Philip Gunawardena’s journey into socialism in America
• Talks on the fate of J R Jayewardene’s Ward Place property
• Rajinikanth to launch own political party in January
• Modi pitches for simultaneous parliamentary, state assembly and local body polls across India
• The Nazi Inspiring China’s Communists
• The CIA’s Secret Global War Against the Left
‘Latin American dictatorships were driven not just by anti-Marxism, but by a nationalist “developmentalist” ideology in which military establishments partnered with technocrats to deliver industrialization.’
• US Populist neo-right toughies gear up for a counterattack
• US VP-elect Kamala Harris picks Sri Lankan-American Rohini Kosoglu as domestic
C11. Media (Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science and art)
ee Media shows how corporate media monopoly determines what is news, art, culture, etc. The media is part of the public relations (corporate propaganda) industry. The failure to highlight our priorities, the need to read between the lines. To set new perspectives and priorities.
• Weerawansa slams Unilever SL in Parliament
• A Genuine Servant Of The People: C P De Silva
‘Diabolical intentions of traditional left identified the soft spots in the political belly of Mrs B.’
• Dilith Jayaweera benefits from special tax concession?
• Media-persons must be critical thinkers – Media panel
‘The panel: Arjuna Ranawana, Roel Raymond, Moderator Nalaka Gunewardene and Imran Furkan
• Holmes Pollard & Stott – Chairman Pradeep Amirthanayagam
‘We were also the first to pitch in Sinhala. In addition, we helped launch several brands that went on to make it big. These included Newdale Yoghurt, Maliban Kiri Milk Powder, Union Bank and Maruti. ‘
• 650 Archaeological monuments excavated from Batticaloa
• Exposure of origin of melodies in the Prof. E. R. Sarathchandra’s Maname songs
• Some Sri Lankan Mannerisms
• A philosopher emperor
‘I am struck by important similarities between Stoicism and Buddhism.’
• Robert Fisk passes…
‘“if you watch wars the old ideas of journalism that have to be neutral and take nobody’s side is rubbish. As a journalist you have got to be neutral and unbiased on the side of those who suffer”’