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Country Profile

Sri Lanka mapSri Lanka-overview: Sri Lanka (Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka) is an island in the Indian Ocean, lying off the Southeastern tip of the Indian subcontinent. The Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar separate Sri Lanka from India. The Arabian Sea lies to the west, the Bay of Bengal to the NorthEast, and the Indian Ocean to the South, Colombo, situated on the western coast, is the largest city and the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. The official capital is Sri Jayewardenepura (Kotte), located about 16 km (about 10 miles) east of Colombo. The total area of Sri Lanka is 65, 610 sq km (25,332 sq.miles)


The population of Sri Lanka is nearly 20 million. Ethnic groups are the Sinhalese, who form the majority (74%) of the population, the Sri Lankan Tamils (12.6%), Tamils of recent Indian origin (5.5%),Sri Lanka Moors(7.7), and other groups like Malays, and Burghers forming the rest. Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy in terms of employment, but manufacturing, especially the garment industry generates the majority of export earnings. Remittances from Sri Lankan expatriates particularly in the Middle and Gulf have recently become an important foreign exchange contributor.Tourim also plays an important role in the island's economy.


Sri Lanka has a democratic political system, with a directly elected President as Head of State as well as a directly elected Parliament,with a Prime Minister and a Cabinet of Ministers. Sri Lanka was inhabited as early as 125,000 years before the Common Era. Sri Lanka has a long recorded history and a rich cultural heritage. History, as recorded in ancient chronicles, goes back to the 6th century before the Common Era, when a group of migrants from India established settlements in the northern plain, also known as dry zone.No doubt these migratns would have in course of time integrated with the indegenous inhabitants. These settlements developed into a centralised kingdom with the passage of time.


The most notable event in the early history of the island was the introduction of Buddhism from India in the 3rd century BCE. Buddhism has shaped the history of the country and its cultural heritage. The ancient civilization of Sri Lanka reached its apogee during the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa periods – that is from early historical times to about 13th century-when an intricate irrigation system was established for agricultural purposes and construction of religious monuments such as pagodas was undertaken. The irrigation technology that developed during this period has few parallels in the ancient world and ancient Sri Lanka is described as a hydraulic society or civilization. After that, due to foreign invasions and ecological problems capitals were shifted from city to city and when the first western power, the Portuguese, arrived in the island in the early 16th century, the capital was located at Kotte, close to Colombo. The western powers were attracted to the island mainly due to its valuable spices particularly, Cinnamon and its strategic location. The Portuguese were in occupation of the coastal areas until 1658 when they were replaced by the Dutch. The Dutch were in turn replaced by the British in 1796 but the kingdom in the highlands retained its independence until 1815 when the entire country came under the British rule.


Ceylon as it was named by the new rulers, was considered a model colony by the British who initiated constitutional development in the island as early as 1833 when executive and legislative councils were set up. In 1931 Ceylon achieved internal self government with the introduction of universal adult franchise, the first non white British colony to gain that status. Ceylon became a fully independent nation in 1948 and became a member of the Commonwealth. Ceylon joined the United Nations in 1955. Ceylon retained links with the British monarchy until 1972 when a Republican constitution was adopted and the country restored its old name, Sri Lanka.


The Constitution of 1978 introduced an executive Presidential form of government with proportional representation. The simmering ethnic tensions in the country took a turn for the worse in 1983 with a terrorist attack in the North which killed many soldiers and subsequent riots in all parts of the island. The Indo-Lanka accord of 1987 introduced the Provincial Council system for devolution of powers to the outlying areas after which many separatist groups except LTTE joined the mainstream of democratic life. The LTTE, the largest separatist group remained intransigent and many attempts to reach a political settlement failed due to its recalcitrant attitude. In 2002 a ceasefire agreement was signed with Norwegian facilitation and six rounds of talks were held with the LTTE to reach a settlement. The LTTE did not change its attitude and continued it‘s terrorist attacks on civil and military targets Despite many challenges faced by the country since independence Sri Lanka maintains a democratic and multi party system of government and governments have changed many times through the ballot. The island has also maintained a high level of human development.


The election in 2005 brought President Mahinda Rajapaksa to power and an all Party Representative Committee (APRC) was set up to find a solution to an ethnic problem. Following a major campaign, the Armed Forces were able in May 2009 to defeat the LTTE and bring the whole island under the writ of the democratically elected government, after nearly three decades. This is considered a new beginning for Sri Lanka to go forward in developing the country without the impediment of a terrorist threat. The Goverment took timely action to look after the displaced who are over 250,000 accommodated in temporary welfare centers, and majority of them have been now settled.


In January 2010 a presidential election was held which was won overwhelmingly by the incumbent President. His second term will commence in November 2010. The Parliamentary election held in April was won by the ruling United Peoples' Freedom Alliance (UPFA) with a huge majority of seats. It is expected that constitutional amendments will be introduced very soon to consolidate the peace and political stability restored with the defeat of terrorism.


Sri Lanka is a member of the Commonwealth, United Nations, Non Aligned Movement, Group of 77, and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation (BIMTEC) Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-RAC) Asian Regional Forum (ARE) and Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD).

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30 June 2012 Applications are called from suitable qualified Public/Private... Read more
Hon. Navin Dissanayake, the Minister of Public Management Reforms met Hon.... Read more
12 June 2012 Functional and Work Processes Review is now in the last stage... Read more
10 May 2012 Some of the Public Organizations have obtained ISO 9000 Quality... Read more
28 February 2012 The ceremonial opening of the District Skills Development... Read more
19 January 2012 07th Committee meeting on expediting the amending process of... Read more
13 January 2012 Pre-Induction Training Program under the theme “Getting... Read more
11 January 2012 Applications are invited from interested public officers for... Read more
14 December 2011 1. Advertisement Publish in Dinamina 14-12-2011 2. Terms... Read more
17 October 2011 The launching ceremony of Functional & Work Processes... Read more
12 October 2011 The fourth workshop for Secretaries/Conveners of management... Read more
28 September 2011 A co-ordination workshop has been organized by the... Read more

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