Lenin said few days before the October revolution “If it comes our way let us take power ,then we see what we can do with it.”He was attacked by Menshevik reformist for taking the path of adventurism. It was reported that Ranil was all light-hearted answering about coming to power. As light-hearted was the question put to him earlier then he was asked, ‘Now that you are in power, what’s your next step?’ Pat comes the answer: “The next step is to stay in power.”
Certainly that is a pragmatic answer though it was not an answer typical of politicians. It was, in contrast, an honest response; that’s what politics and politicians are all about. Power is the central axis of politics. Striving to obtain it and thereafter fighting to keep it is fundamental but there should be a consistent programme; political mission to complete. Malinda says “Kudos to the Prime Minister, even if it was said in jest and even though it was a slick way of spelling out things.”
If you compare Ranil with others in the bourgeois liberal discourse, he stands out as a person who had spelled out a democratic solution to the national democratic problems faced by Lanka; also done things, bravely facing rapacious opposition, to implement the programme. In addition to taking steps to solve the nationality problem, he has attempted to give a solution to the structural backwardness in socio economics in Lanka.
Colonial civil service
There is a is a populist belief that state owned sector including state machinery is socialist and hence secure. Strangely enough this opinion has come from the colonial governance, not from socialist propaganda. The opinion that state employment is god given and one only answers to the god given rules and regulation was promoted by the colonial civil service and it continues today, even in the state corporate sector. On the other hand general public is angry over the lethargy and corruption in the state sector.
Studies conducted by various organizations have found that many Lankans are not happy about the performance of state enterprises due to issues of political interference and has stressed the need for better governance. Political intervention in the state sector organizations has been considered as people’s power over bourgeois bureaucrats by some trade unions and left politicians. After 56, masses were told that power of ‘Niladari’ is over. Thus mass intervention by mass leaders – politicians became a tradition.
However, studies say that many state-owned enterprises had reported significant and persistent losses over the years which had caused social problems.
In general, the net transfers from the state to public enterprises amounted to billions more than what was estimated in the budget. a study done on 70 countries in in the last period indicated that countries with higher quality institutions experienced a higher growth and low corruption.
It further estimated that countries moving towards high quality institutions had a growth rate of 26 per cent in the short term and 40 per cent in the long term. Obviously these are not small numbers.
Right to Information and Audit Acts
We are told that it was intangible capital that makes the difference. Intangible capital is composed of human capital, natural capital, institutional capital and social capital that are very relevant to Lanka in strengthening the governance framework.
Recently approved Right to Information and Audit Acts create a happy environment to improve transparency and accountability and good governance in the public sector and state enterprises. as public sector enterprises in Lanka represent a major part of the state institutions with people assuming socialist sector their governance matters greatly.
At the same time around 400 small and medium enterprises (SME) that operate in Lanka play a major and key role in the country’s economy by providing infrastructure and service facilities. As pointed above good governance requires credible institutions that are built on principles of transparency and accountability to reduce poverty and to share prosperity, even under market economy.
We are not government specialists but we can relate to the impact of good and bad governance and fight for the recommendations acceptable, should be implemented. It is the citizen’s right and duty to demand good governance even under market economy. If enormous losses of public corporations can be stopped or minimized to a certain degree as expressed, certainly workers will be happy.
These loss-making institutions are making the country’s economy to bleed and that had gone on for a long time. The present government had taken measures to uphold the rule of law, accountability and good governance and transparency in managing the public sector.
The creations of independent commissions under the 19th amendment such as the Right to Information Act and the proposed Audit Act and the Public Finance Act should soon become a reality.
Under mass pressure, since 2015 several far reaching steps have been taken to strengthen the supervision of the public boards.
The Auditor General too had been vested with powers to eradicate corruption in the public sector. The opposition political parties have been given a chance to participate in the COPE committee but fascistic forces have miss used it.