Non-communicable diseases – primarily caused by poor eating habits and inactive lifestyles – claim the largest number of Sri Lankan lives, accounting for 83% of all deaths, compared to a global average of 71%. This blog takes a look at how food environments influence eating habits and highlights the need for examining and regulating Sri Lanka’s food environment to combat the NCD epidemic. Some best practice country examples which could help inform the policy agenda in Sri Lanka are also discussed.
High levels of inequality impede sustainable growth and development of a country. Sri Lanka made impressive strides to reach an upper middle-income country (UMIC) status in July 2019, only to slip back a year later. The COVID-19 crisis, amid growing inequities, is likely to make the task of regaining UMIC status even harder. This blog highlights the main sectors and social groups that are adversely affected, and explains the need for inclusive economic growth (IEG) post-COVID-19 for Sri Lanka to emerge as a peaceful and developed country.
In 2019, Sri Lanka recorded the highest reported elephant deaths and second highest number of human deaths in the world due to the human-elephant conflict (HEC). Each year, the reported number of crop losses, property damage, and human and elephant deaths continue to be considerably high. These numbers could be even higher due unreported cases. Regardless of the immediate causes of individual incidents, the growing competition between humans and elephants for living space is the main underlying reason for many such incidents. This blog looks at how insurance could help affected communities.
With the closure of schools following the COVID-19 outbreak and the sudden shift to online learning, poor children with no access to e-learning opportunities risk falling even further behind. In this context, some proposals made in Budget 2021 to improve the education system and reduce poverty will benefit poor children who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. This blog highlights some of the education-related difficulties faced by poor children in Sri Lanka based on HIES data and the recent budget proposals which could help them to overcome these difficulties.
At a juncture when government finances are tight, policy solutions such as taxing tobacco which can be leveraged to boost government revenue, without threatening economic growth, are essential. However, Sri Lanka’s 2021 Budget does not specify any tax increases on cigarettes. Instead, it proposes a simplification of taxes across a variety of sin goods and other goods. Details on how such a complex proposal is to be implemented across an array of industries are yet to be revealed. This blog dissects some of these issues pertaining to cigarette tax proposals in Budget 2021.