Champika Says Sri Lanka Should Establish 'Jana Sabha' System

Minister of Technology and Research Patali Champika Ranawaka has said that Sri Lanka should adopt a local government structure based on its history without delay. He made this remark at the launch of the reprint of Prof. Malini Andagama’s book “Sri Lankave Gam Sabha Kramaye Ithihasaya” (The History of Sri Lanka’s Gam Sabha) at National Library and Documentation Services Board Auditorium yesterday. Ranawaka added that the reprinting of the book was a timely event.

The Minister highly commended the fact that Prof. Andagama had reached highest levels of academic life starting from a rural area at a time when education for females was not very popular.

Ranawaka said that there was a village level administration from ancient times. It was a decentralized system in Anuradhapura era, and was a traditional leadership during Kandyan times. It had a bureaucratic structure. In 1980, the Gam Sabha system was abolished. However, the replacement, the Pradeshiya Sabha system, has not really helped the people, and now have become a tool of various contractors.

The Minister further mentioned that the Mahinda Chinthana of 2010 had proposed a system similar to Gam Sabha, which was named the Jana Sabhas. However, the Jana Sabha, or the ‘People’s Councils’ never got implemented. It suggested incorporating community leaders in the administrative areas of each Pradeshiya Sabha and getting their inputs on developmental projects.

Ranawaka also said that the administration of a country reflects the characteristics of the rulers and the behavior of government institutions. He said that a new discourse should be initiated regarding the ground level administration and the higher levels as well. Prof. Andama’s book will be a good starting point for this discussion, Ranawaka said.

The event was chaired by Diviyagaha Yasassi Thera. Medagama Abhayatissa Thera and Hanguranketha Dheerananda Thera also spoke.

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