President’s 73rd Independence Day speech
Full textual content of the speech made by His Excellency President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 73rd Independence Day – February 4, 2021
Right this moment marks the 73rd anniversary of our nation gaining independence from colonial rule. On this present day we pay our respects to all of the leaders from the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and different sections of the inhabitants who made numerous sacrifices to win our independence.
I additionally pay my tribute to the courageous struggle heroes who sacrificed their lives and underwent nice hardships to protect our nation’s independence and sovereignty.
Now we have confronted many challenges as a nation within the 73 years since our independence. Now and again, we have now needed to face non secular and ethnic conflicts, racist and terrorist actions, undue exterior influences, constitutional crises, and plenty of different obstacles. The challenges of building nationwide safety, reaching true reconciliation amongst numerous communities of our nation, and constructing a robust economic system that may ship sustainable financial growth and eradicate poverty nonetheless lie forward of us.
At a juncture when our nation’s heritage, its traditions, its nationwide id and patriotism had been underneath critical menace, greater than 6.9 million folks elected me as President to offer the management wanted to reestablish nationwide safety and overcome the numerous challenges dealing with our nation.
I’m a Sinhala Buddhist chief and I’ll by no means hesitate to state so. I govern this nation in accordance with Buddhist teachings. Throughout the Buddhist philosophic custom of peaceable coexistence which supplies due respect to all religions and ethnicities, each particular person on this nation regardless of his or her ethnic or non secular identification has the best to benefit from the freedom as equals underneath the nation’s authorized framework.
Traitorous components all the time band collectively and search to marshal home and international forces in opposition to the management that upholds indigenous lifestyle and nation’s sovereignty. Such components mislead the general public by means of false propaganda in a delicate method. I request the folks of our nation to all the time suppose critically earlier than appearing. If folks make assessments based mostly on info and take choices solely after discovering out the reality, nobody will have the ability to mislead the general public.
The general public has given the present Authorities a mandate to execute the insurance policies articulated in my imaginative and prescient assertion “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”.
I’ve sworn because the nation’s chief to all the time defend our nation’s independence, unitary standing, territorial integrity and sovereignty on behalf of our future generations. I’ll all the time uphold that pledge.
Sri Lanka is a democratic nation. Each citizen who lives on this nation has equal rights. We reject any efforts to divide our residents based mostly on ethnic or non secular causes. We all the time try to guard the elemental rights and human rights of all our residents, and all the time stand for the precept of 1 nation, one regulation.
We all the time respect the rule of regulation. The general public has rejected the undue affect that was exerted on regulation enforcement companies and the judiciary by politicians previously. Nevertheless, the general public additionally expects honest, unbiased and environment friendly service from the officers who implement the regulation. As such, I’ve suggested the Legal professional Common’s Division to swiftly act upon issues which have brought about nice concern to the general public, such because the Easter Sunday Assaults and the Central Financial institution rip-off.
I’ve now acquired the ultimate report of the Presidential Fee appointed to inquire into the Easter Sunday Assaults. I’ve already given directions to implement its suggestions. Concurrently, considering the suggestions of the earlier Parliament’s Sectoral Oversight Committee on Nationwide Safety, motion will likely be taken in opposition to all events concerned on this tragedy. We won’t permit these answerable for designing and enabling this tragedy to flee justice. We are going to by no means permit extremism to lift its head once more, on this nation.
At a time when the whole world is in disaster as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, our nation has needed to face many challenges. For greater than a yr, the pandemic has posed critical obstacles to finishing up the event actions and for folks of our nation to guide a standard life.
A number of international locations have by now efficiently developed vaccines for the COVID-19 virus. I’ve requested the leaders of India, China and Russia to help Sri Lanka to swiftly get hold of these vaccines. This matter has additionally been mentioned with the World Well being Group. Accordingly, we have now obtained one vaccine and have already began our vaccination programme. This vaccination programme will likely be carried out with none disruption.
An essential lesson learnt by all nations confronted with the prevailing international disaster has been the necessity for a robust home manufacturing base. This expertise has additional underscored the appropriateness and timeliness of our coverage of strengthening home agriculture to make sure meals safety and self-sufficiency.
The stimulus offered by means of distribution of free fertilizer, elevating the ground worth of paddy to 50 rupees, hanging off the money owed of farmers, reconstructing 1000’s of irrigation tanks across the nation, and the encouragement offered to dwelling gardening and concrete farming has revived the agriculture sector. We are going to act to additional improve agricultural productiveness by means of the infusion of latest applied sciences. We’re already seeing the advantages of strengthening farmers by means of managing import taxes to encourage the manufacturing of paddy, maize, grains, potatoes and onions; by limiting imports of merchandise equivalent to turmeric which might be grown domestically and by limiting the re-export of spices equivalent to pepper. Home manufacturing has elevated, and export alternatives have expanded.
I’ve all the time maintained that so as to strengthen farmers economically we should encourage them to develop into agricultural entrepreneurs. It’s our purpose to additional develop and strengthen the home agriculture sector in order that it turns into a big international change earner.
Now we have not forgotten the significance of the economic and repair sectors in financial growth. The Authorities has taken motion to encourage these sectors by means of the supply of tax incentives and by decreasing rates of interest. An ideal enchancment is already seen in conventional handicrafts equivalent to batik, cane, clay and jewelry by means of the state ministries that had been established for this function.
Now we have paid consideration to offer entrepreneurs engaged in small and medium enterprises in addition to those that are self-employed avenues in minimizing delays in numerous approvals they require, in serving to them to entry financing at single digit rates of interest and in acquiring required coaching.
Offering stimulus to the development business has been proven to be a profitable technique of reviving stalled economies. Initiatives such because the 100,000 kilometer roads programme; the ten,000 bridges programme; the reconstruction of 1000’s of irrigation tanks across the nation underneath the ‘Irrigation Prosperity’ programme; the programme to assemble 14,000 homes underneath the theme of ‘one village, one home’; the creation of 100,000 housing items for center earnings earners, low earnings earners and concrete shanty dwellers; the programme to assemble 4,000 homes for property employees; and the development of walkways for densely populated areas across the nation will present nice advantages to the general public at giant while straight supporting the revival of the economic system.
Amidst striving to develop the agriculture, industrial and repair sectors to strengthen the nationwide economic system, we’re additionally taking steps to attenuate obstacles to the promotion of international direct investments. Whereas our coverage of not promoting nationwide financial hubs to foreigners stays unchanged, I belief that the general public will critically assess the misinformation and misinterpretations being propagated by these with ulterior political motives to discourage international traders from investing in Sri Lanka.
I’ve established a Presidential Deregulation Fee to alter the outdated legal guidelines and rules that have an effect on most people in addition to the home and international corporations. This lengthy mentioned however unimplemented exercise has lastly commenced. I imagine that implementing the suggestions of this Fee will present important impetus to the nation’s future financial growth.
The twenty first Century is taken into account because the Information Century.
Human sources are extraordinarily essential to the event of the nation. The “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” coverage assertion articulates the necessity for instructional reforms to foster a educated and expert future era.
Accordingly, a separate State Ministry has been created to undertake the reforms wanted within the training sector. Two activity forces have additionally been created to acquire specialist help for these reforms. The suggestions they’ve offered are already being carried out.
In the course of the course of this yr, the variety of college students gaining admission to universities will improve by 10,000, or 30 p.c. Provisions have been made to double the variety of college students coming into the state Technical Schools from 100,000 to 200,000. Approval has been granted for the creation of a system of metropolis universities catering to each district so as to improve the capability of universities. We’re appearing shortly to implement suggestions for instructional reforms. Because of this, we anticipate that there will likely be an considerable qualitative enchancment within the training sector inside the subsequent few years.
As a way to fulfil our financial ambitions within the fashionable world, we should foster a society conversant in know-how.
As a way to compete sooner or later, the agriculture, industrial and repair sectors will should be infused with know-how. To help this, we look ahead to fostering a tradition of technological innovation that may uplift the dwelling requirements of the folks.
In accordance with the insurance policies contained within the “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” imaginative and prescient assertion, the Authorities will encourage innovation by means of the usage of know-how in each the general public and the personal sectors. With this in thoughts, a spread of tax incentives has already been offered to the know-how intensive sectors.
In latest weeks, I established a devoted Ministry of Expertise and introduced it underneath my purview. Via this Ministry, due consideration will likely be paid to creating the insurance policies and authorized framework required to enhance the know-how sector, in addition to to simplify the functioning of the state sector and markets by means of the usage of data know-how as a instrument for broader digital governance. Motion has already been taken to create 5 know-how parks with all amenities in 5 recognized districts so as to encourage entrepreneurs and start-ups within the know-how sector. We may have a chance to create a revival within the know-how sector by means of such incentives.
I request the clever public to do not forget that all of this has been achieved in little over a yr, while dealing with the continued COVID-19 pandemic that has debilitated the whole world.
Our tourism business earned roughly US$ 4.5 billion yearly and offered direct and oblique employment to 3 million folks. These folks are actually in nice problem as they’re unable to make a dwelling from tourism. We have to discover options for these folks as quickly as doable. As such, while strictly adhering to well being suggestions, we have now acted to restart the tourism business in a phased method.
I’ve all the time liked and revered the setting. Prior to now, while serving because the Secretary to the Ministry of City Improvement, I strove to guard the setting when enterprise such actions as city beautification, city growth, and the creation of strolling paths and concrete parks. Right this moment, too, our Authorities has paid explicit consideration to preserving the setting for future generations. What the creation of city forests, designing of inexperienced cities, promotion of inexperienced companies, enterprise of nationwide tree planting programmes, reconstruction of irrigation tanks and canals, recultivating of fallow paddy fields, selling the usage of natural fertilizer, and limiting the usage of plastics reveal is the implementation of this sustainable environmental administration coverage.
The muse of our citizen centric financial coverage is that the true potential of the economic system can’t be unleashed with out financial freedom. To attain the Authorities’s goals of eliminating poverty, offering equal alternative for enchancment of all residents, and creating home companies, we require a clear and environment friendly public service.
The general public service is a strong, nationwide mechanism. This represents a chance that many international locations on the planet don’t possess. Due to this fact, I count on this highly effective mechanism to make a big contribution to the nationwide choice making course of. Nevertheless, I observe that weaknesses at present prevail in choice making at each degree. Even on quite simple institutional issues, I’ve noticed that officers keep away from making choices and refer them to the Cupboard of Ministers. They count on recommendation from circulars for each exercise.
They keep away from taking choices even inside the limits of their authority. If we don’t change this example, it is going to be extraordinarily troublesome for us to take this nation ahead.
The authorized reforms vital to guard these within the public service who take right choices are at present being formulated. I subsequently request all these in positions of authority to ease the restrictions and practices that hinder most people by means of the state administration.
I personally take part within the ‘Dialog with the Village’ programme as a result of rural growth is one among my Authorities’s priorities. The general public administration system at each the District and Divisional degree is extraordinarily essential to reaching the citizen centric financial growth articulated in my imaginative and prescient assertion “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”. There’s a clear duty incumbent on everybody concerned on this growth course of, from the Governors, District Secretaries, Divisional Secretaries and Public Well being Officers, to officers equivalent to Grama Niladharis, Samurdhi Officers, Agriculture Analysis and Manufacturing Assistants, Household Well being Service Officers and Improvement Officers on the village degree. They’ve all offered large help in controlling the unfold of the COVID-19 virus and in offering different important companies. Equally, I look ahead to the unstinted help of all public servants in efficiently overcoming the challenges that confront us by way of our financial growth.
The political management has a grave duty not solely on issues on the nationwide degree but additionally in rural growth. Now we have instituted mechanisms to make sure the energetic participation of Cupboard and State Ministers, Members of Parliament, and Members of City and Municipal Councils within the growth actions at District and Divisional ranges.
Corruption and waste are important obstacles to a nation’s growth. We’re setting an instance to eradicate corruption and waste within the public administration. We won’t be lenient on anybody who’s discovered responsible of corruption or waste. Nevertheless, one of many difficulties we face in stopping corruption is the oblique help given willingly or unwillingly by the general public to such actions. I request most people to not encourage corruption both straight or not directly. If anybody is discovered to be partaking in corrupt practices, please inform the related authorities.
I invite everybody to affix in a nationwide effort to mobilize public opinion in opposition to corruption and waste. Our future generations too should be educated on this regard. I recognize the help that’s being prolonged by the media for this initiative.
Varied events declare that they labored to make sure my election as President. Which may be true. Individuals from each part of society gathered round me to help my marketing campaign. I imagine that the overwhelming majority of those folks did so not in quest of private advantages however as a result of they anticipated me to serve the nation diligently. I’m all the time ready to fulfil the real expectations of the general public that supported me with trustworthy intent. Nevertheless, I’ll by no means take choices that may harm the nation and to please those that search positive factors for themselves personally or for his or her companies.
All through historical past, robust civilizations had been constructed and nations developed by those that labored on targets by trying positively in the direction of the longer term. At this juncture, our nations’ growth requires exactly that form of imaginative and prescient.
No contribution might be anticipated from pessimists and people who do nothing however criticize the work of others.
What we require as we speak is the help of residents with a constructive imaginative and prescient, who love their nation, who contribute to society, and who don’t make unfair criticism however gives sensible options to the problems we face.
We’re dedicated to attain the precept of the ‘productive citizen, blissful household, disciplined and moral society, and affluent nation’. If the vast majority of residents on this nation present their due contribution in the direction of this, we will make this precept a actuality. I subsequently as soon as once more request all of the residents of this nation to suppose positively and be part of with us to construct the longer term for all our youngsters.
I’m the chief that you simply looked for. I’ll discharge the duty you could have entrusted to me, with dedication and dedication.
Could the blessings of the noble Triple Gem be with you.