An economy that unites, reconciliation that divides in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Vikalpa

There are some issues that divide Sri Lankans and there are some issues that unite Sri Lankans. While the cost of living, unemployment and education bring the opinions of the four main communities together, topics such as reconciliation and identity continue to divide.

On the economy, the cost of living is what is mainly on people’s minds. A reduction in the cost of living is what most Sri Lankans would like to see as a result of the current development process along with creation of more jobs and better education facilities. These opinions are similar across the four main communities in Sri Lanka.

However, on the topic of reconciliation, divisions still persist. 26.5% from the Tamil community believe that the Government has done nothing to address the root causes of the ethnic conflict while 35.5% from the Sinhalese community believe that the Government has done a lot. 59% from the Up Country Tamil and 39% from the Muslim communities say that the Government has done a little but not enough.

Some of these key findings from ‘Democracy in post-war Sri Lanka’, an island wide survey conducted by Social Indicator, the survey research unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives are presented in the infographics below.

Sri Lanka – post war

Download a high resolution version of this info graphic here.

Sri Lanka – economy

Download a high resolution version of this info graphic here.

Conducted for the second time, ‘Democracy in post-war Sri Lanka’ sought to record public perspectives on democracy in Sri Lanka today and the findings presented under seven key sections – Economy and Development, Post War Sri Lanka, The Government, Media, Tolerance, Identity, and Role of Religion and Ethnicity in Politics.

The survey captured the opinion of 2045 Sri Lankans from the four main ethnic groups in the 25 districts. The selection of respondents was random across the country except in a few areas in the Northern Province where access was difficult. Fieldwork was conducted from August – September 2013.

  • walter

    If 75 % believe that one should know the Sinhala language to be identified as a Sri Lankan, then the time is ripe for the Tamils to live as a separate identity.
    At the moment the official language of Sri Lanka is Sinhala only.(forget the unenforced legislation of parity)
    Quite correctly 80% believe that it should be Sinhala only.
    Therefore it is conclusive that the rest 20 % is the minority.
    If equality and parity of status cannot be enforced, it is best the sizeable minority specially the ones who live in identified areas such as the North and the East be allowed to run their domestic affairs in the language of their choice instead of creating bloodshed, which is inevitable due to to the intransigent attitude of the vociferous section of the Sinhala majority.

    • mahinda

      [edited out] even the name boards in deep south have tamil names in it. But Sinhalese names is not included in most places in jaffna. Go figure.

    • Prem

      The big choice is between an ethnic nation based on the majority which is sinhala or a country based on ethnic diversity…. and since the beginning of independence , many people in sri lanka (or sinhalanka, which is what most people want there) using thuggish means to force their own political agenda. The most appalling aspect, Buddhist monks ( the epitome of non violence…sic) are the leaders of these violent means…..OH GOD… what is this world coming to??? This must be a lesson learnt from the Chinese and their attitude towards the Tibetans and monks….

      So as I see it there is only one way out of this….to be one nation and consider all citizens as Sri lankans, a nation with two language groups of equal status…..OR… the autonomous region for the minority and a Federational state like in so many other democratic countries around the world. The world has to put pressure on this GOVERNMENT to be more inclusive and not exclusive!!!!!! The only way to peace is acceptance of differences and diversity…

  • Dutugamunu

    This site has become a back yard of critics now . Fortunately it was quite impartial and balance last few years but now it has become too partial . It is worth to know the reason . Why can’t we ready to think about the truth. I never heard of a country in the world that grew its economy and infranctructures as fast as in Sri Lanka after 30 years of brutal war . I’m not a fan of Sri lankan Goverment but I’m fairer after regarding to the magnitude of thread we faced in the past . How come we forget what we faced last three decades .

  • rohanroamer

    the survey displays the ignorance of the polity both Sinhala and Tamil. The people are subject to intensive state propaganda through state monopoly of the media which provides false and biased information.This harmful state of affairs needs to be addressed through counter propaganda from reliable and honest sources such as the local and foreign academia who have no vested interest in gaining political or economic power. Ordinary citizens need to be educated and made aware of the truth through simple and straightforward political, economic and social analysis.

    Only an educated society can understand and hold accountable the government for its unsustainable, inequitable and non-inclusive path of development which is sucking the life blood of the nation for the exclusive benefit of a small group of economically and politically powerful elite who are holding the nation to ransom through authoritarian rule.