In the run up to elections, Sri Lanka is once again witnessing various news activities highlighting how the government is losing revenue due to increased consumption of illicit cigarettes and beedi. However, the wider government policy on tobacco control is aimed to reduce smoking rates and the related direct and indirect costs – which was estimated to amount to 6% of government revenue in 2015 – through taxation. This blog argues that although controlling the availability of illegal cigarettes in the market is important, this should be done through regulation so that both legal and illegal cigarette consumption remains low in the country.
The world is on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which is affecting the way people live, work, do business, and interact. Newly emerging technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IOT), virtual reality, and 3D printing are fast becoming the new normal. Therefore, it is important to explore the development challenges for South Asia in the new era of the 4IR. In this context, one of the plenary sessions at the 12th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES XII) explored the links between 4IR and SDGs at the regional level.
Out of the six million families living in Sri Lanka, only 5.2 million have some form of housing. Though steps have been taken to develop the housing sector in the country, such as the formulation of the National Housing Policy, there are issues that warrant attention. This blog aims to inquire into the pressing needs of the sector and discuss whether the 2019 Budget proposals passed by Parliament provide solutions to these problems.
The World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI) summarises the ‘amount of human capital a child born today could expect to attain by age 18’. Sri Lanka’s HCI for 2018, the best in the South Asian region, is 0.58. However, there is room for improvement. A closer examination of the sub-indices of the HCI shows that two of the areas that need attention are education and health.
Improving institutional coherence is key to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sri Lanka’s Sustainable Development Act came into effect in October 2017. It represents an important step towards implementing the SDGs in the country. This blog looks at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the Act and gives recommendations on how to make its implementation more efficient.