I went to Parliament yesterday to listen to 'the Budget Debate – Committee Stage on the allocations for the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Ministry of Sports' and I heard the discussions on the impending Policies expected in the coming year. A National Youth Policy, A National Sports Policy, and a National Education Policy. When I opened the papers today, there was the request for a National Film Policy too!
Now what is all this about? The need for a policy framework on these major issues and I would personally add a long awaited one A National Agricultural Policy to that. This is so that there is focus in determining how a government should direct spending. NOT HOW THE GOVT SHOULD SPEND. It should be a policy framework that informs the people of the Country, of the policy the country is following at present, with periodic status reports on implementation.
Unfortunately like everything in Govt. a politician will take credit for the formulation of a policy and then refer to it whenever it suits him. However the policy itself will not be worth the time wasted on its formulation, as there is no intention, other than political expediency of implementing any of the proposals of the policy. It just gets swept under a carpet, but is referred to always as the direction that is adopted.
This active decision NOT to implement a policy once it is formulated is due to the lack of a commitment on anyone’s part to follow through. In other countries once policies are heavily debated, amended after discussion and adopted, they are then implemented in accordance to the policy framework.
In Sri Lanka that does not happen. I am sure when it comes to the Youth Policy that I will from time to time make suggestions to, in this blog, there will be no effort at implementation, citing a litany of reasons, none of which will hold water. The Mahinda Chinthana is a wish list of this Government, but in every sphere its implementation is hap hazard and only directed at a select few and not for the benefit of its intended recipients. In that way people are given a false impression of the promises, on which they initially give their franchise.
Let us hope that we do not make this mistake, in future. We must implement policies that are adopted. There must be sufficient discussion of stake holders before it is adopted, but an annual review of the status of implementation is sorely needed not to lose focus of its original intention.