Many Sri Lankans live just above and very close to the National Poverty Line (NPL). For instance, more than 400,000 persons fall within 10 per cent above the NPL and around one million persons live within 20 per cent above the NPL. As such, it is important to have a broad look at poverty, when developing strategies to alleviate poverty. In this blog, Wimal Nanayakkara, explains the methodology used in determining NPL and the Global Poverty Lines (GPLs), when estimating poverty in Sri Lanka and attempts to clear some misconceptions on these poverty lines, while stressing the importance of estimating poverty using different measures and dimensions.
Although Sri Lanka has managed to reduce income poverty, income inequality has remained unchanged for more than four decades. The richest 20 per cent enjoy more than half the total household income of the country, while the poorest 20 per cent get only 5 per cent. Furthermore, income gaps between different regions is even wider than the income inequality at the national level. In this blog, the author highlights that the imbalances in opportunities and wide gaps in income levels, as well as in living conditions, among regions and between the rich and the poor, should be addressed immediately.
Sri Lanka’s post-conflict development trajectory has been a story of mixed results. In the aftermath of the conflict, Sri Lanka adopted many strategies to improve livelihood opportunities and reduce poverty and inequality, hoping to ensure harmony through better connectivity. However, there are significant regional disparities, especially in the case of previously conflict-affected districts. Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee record the highest poverty rates in the country. So, what is the way forward for Sri Lanka?
Income poverty (IP) has been decreasing steadily in Sri Lanka during the last three decades. However, there is much more to be done in terms of “ending poverty in all its forms everywhere,” as envisaged in the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). In this regard, it is essential to pay attention to the existing regional variations, disparities between socio-economic groups, the multidimensional nature of poverty, and related issues, when developing poverty alleviation strategies.
In Sri Lanka, the tourism sector boasts of a vast potential to reach economic growth targets. It can also help achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As such, this blog discusses some of the ways in which tourism could make useful contributions towards reducing poverty and inequality, conserving the environment, improving water and sanitation, and promoting public-private partnerships.