Sri Lanka sees a ray of hope in India’s Panchayati Raj system to resolve its domestic conflicts.
Empowering the people at the grassroots level through involvement in the decision making process seems to be the island country’s new mantra to remove regional dissatisfactions.
An all party Sri Lankan delegation on Friday got tips from Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Iyer on the devolution of power before embarking on a trip to Karnataka and Kerala for an on-the-spot study of the system in these States. Senior officials of the Ministry also shared their experience with the visiting delegation.
Emerging from over two hour long session, leader of the delegation and Minister of Science and Technology Tissa Vitarana said Sri Lanka viewed devolution of power as part of the process to resolve its “national problem”. He owed the prevailing tension in various regions of his country to non-involvement of people at different levels in the decision making process.
“We are here to study the Indian model of devolution of power and how it functions,” he said. Significantly, he pointed out that this concept could become the central piece of Sri Lanka’s future framework to tackle issues such as the LTTE problem. But only after evolving a consensus among the country’s political parties.
The delegation consisting of representatives of Sri Lanka’s 13 political parties were quite inquisitive and asked many probing questions, Iyer said. A comprehensive report based on their Indian experience would be submitted to their Government by the delegation.
“We have been mandated by Sri Lanka’s All Party Conference to frame a strategy to tackle our national problem. Our report will be a step in that direction,” Tissa said.