Helping Sri Lanka More Meaningfully
- Reduced availability and affordability of food and thus increased risk of food insecurity, particularly of the most vulnerable households.
- Low-income groups and families in the north and east which were affected by the civil war have low amounts of cash reserves, and limited access to resources such as land.
- The crisis has overwhelmingly impacted women-headed households, people with disabilities, former combatants, the working class, marginalized caste groups and plantation workers who, have been systemically denied access to resources for decades.
- The depreciation of Sri Lankan rupee and a severe lack of foreign exchange have made it extremely difficult for the country to import even the most essential goods, such as food and medicines.
- The lack of transparency in the governments handling of international aid has started to cause some concerns.
- The maximum monthly household cash transfer (LKR 4,000, or about ₹900) under Samurdhi, the government’s poverty alleviation program, is inadequate.
- India has provided an immediate assistance of about $3.5 billion.
- Tamil Nadu, which had already contributed rice and other essential items, is now preparing to send 4,500 MT of rice and other relief material.
- India has also provided credit lines for the purchase of fuel and kerosene.
- India can use the lessons learned from MGNREGA to help create a platform for sustainable development in the region.
- Sri Lanka needs to develop its own social welfare infrastructure and public distribution system.
- A work guarantee scheme can be created to help in infrastructure development and to ensure fiscal austerity, the payment can be done mostly in kind i.e., as food products or other essential commodities.
- This will also ensure that inflation will not become a major concern, while also ensuring the infrastructure required for agriculture such as canals and wells can be constructed swiftly.
- India could start a currency exchange system whereby allowing the Lankan government to buy supplies from India without worrying about the low dollar reserves.
- Indian aid should also be focused towards the poorest of the poor as they will be the most impacted throughout this crisis. This can be done through NGOs to reduce the fiscal burden of government.
- There is also a need for rapid development in the agri sector as, the ban on chemical fertilizers and resulting lack of productivity was one of the major factors which led to current crisis.
- Farmers can be given insurance assurance to help alleviate the fear of crop failure.
Source The Hindu
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