Development Constraints in Sri Lanka

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Poor governance can be viewed as a major constraint to the development of a country. Through a brief political history of Sri Lanka this section will demonstrate the linkages present in a number of government issues that have hindered the development of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1947. From 1948 to 1977 Sri Lanka was a socialist country. Industries were nationalized and a welfare state was established. This improved living conditions but produced slow economic growth, economic inefficiency, and a lack of foreign investment . Since 1971, the constitution of Sri Lanka has established a presidential representative democratic republic , this is rare as Sri Lanka is viewed as less developed country. For the past 25 years, two parties have ruled Sri Lanka: the United National Party (UNP), and the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP). Since introducing democracy the Sri Lankan government has performed admirably in its attempts to improve the standard of living of its citizens.

Large investments in social welfare have produced positive and commendable achievements in health indicators. The infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate are ahead of other developing countries, and Sri Lanka is on track to attaining Millennium Development Goal 4: to reduce child mortality . For the past 25 years they have experienced gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates around 5%, and gross national incomes (GNI) have risen (Figure X1). These have led to an increase in the standard of living of the citizens as well as a decrease in overall poverty levels . These achievements have come via an inefficient bureaucratic system, through a variety of macroeconomic decisions, and have provided an ideal environment for corrupt government officials and institutions. These constraints are inextricably linked and these linkages will be traced through the past 25 years of development in Sri Lanka.

In 1977 the United National Party (UNP) gained control of...
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