Make Lanka sacred and lovable ...

As a proud citizen of Sri Lanka, I always wanted to see our country as a true pearl of South Asia. We are blessed with a plethora of resources, which makes Sri Lanka one of the best tourist destinations. I have travelled to many other countries and always wanted to take the best of those and implement it in my own country. Although this was my goal long ago, I was waiting for the right leadership to take over the country to understand the values of the constructive changes. Since the Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been elected as the president along with a very strong team, I am proposing the changes in various sectors. I hope these changes absorbed well and implemented appropriately will enhance the living standards of Sri Lanka and will be set as a benchmark for other developing countries.

Education

1 Introduce “innovation challenge competitions and start-up business pitches” – to bring new doable ideas–at high school and university level. Encourage foreign collaborations to fund innovative projects
2 Introduce “Research incubators” to fund more viable start-ups and expose them at both, national and international levels
3 Make reading classes mandatory – introduce reading sessions in every curriculum at school because the reading habits are vanishing with the increased used of electronic devices
4 Have career development units in every school – targeting the graduating high schoolers and university students; tailoring students to meet the demands of job market is crucial now and in the future
5 Introduce career fairs quarterly at universities. This will help the university students to network with many organizations and find the right fit
6 Introduce more practical sessions for STEM at the university level. Practical trainings in STEM is essential for better understanding and implementing
7 Take measures to convert school syllabus to English medium. Although this sounds challenging, the process can be started from Advanced level and then worked backwards all the way up to kindergarten. Being exposed to English medium will facilitate higher education, both, locally and overseas. Simultaneously, start teachers training in English medium at College of Education/Teacher’s training colleges
8 Incorporate basic law and order, as a subject, starting from school level – Kids will be aware of their rights and responsibilities as citizens and will voice for childhood abuse and other injustice
9 Incorporate the importance and maintenance of state and public properties – in school syllabus. This will create an awareness at the very early stage of life to protect the nation
10 Introduce payback student loan schemes– to facilitate more students getting exposed to higher education and reduce the number of colleges drop out due to financial constraints
11 Introduce the importance of healthy food intake at, both schools and universities – to avoid childhood malnutrition and adulthood non-communicable diseases
12 Revisit and revise university syllabus every five years to be updated with the new research
13 Impose strict rules for “bullying” and/or “ragging” at universities – to completely eradicate such unprecedented events, which often leads to life threats and long-term health impairments
14 Introduce leadership courses in school curriculum and at universities – to create a society of better leaders
15 Introduce MOODLE (modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment) for all-island universities. This helps in knowledge sharing through course material and exam preparations from all public universities – in a centralized system; create an educational repository for quick and easy accessibility of study materials
16 Introduce bus-pass or train-pass for university students– so then they can pay a nominal annual fee and swipe the pass unlimited times; the pass should have a photo ID for validation
17 Revise the school uniform code for girls’ schools. The increasing sexual harassment at public and private school transports could be avoided by imposing safe dress code for girl; pants and tops could be a best solution
18Introduce self-defense, meditation, and yoga at all educational institutions and make it a part of the curriculum
19Introduce more extra-curricular activities (ex: spell bees, chess, school clubs) in rural schools– to prepare the students for both national and international level competitions. This will shed light on the students in remote areas

Health

1 Make health insurance mandatory from kindergarten through university level education – at an affordable cost
2 Impose laws on prescriptions. Only certain medicines should be allowed over the counter and the others should have a latest prescription – not more than three months old
3 All hospital records (pre-medical history) should be added in a centralized database for the easy accessibility of patient’s medical history from any part of Sri Lanka (accessible anywhere in Sri Lanka)
4 Any patient should have a pre-assessment completed before being treated for any diseases. The pre-assessment should be updated with valid identity and be recorded in the centralize database
5 Regulate online consulting and medical advices – throughout the country
6 Introduce state pharmacies and encourage local production
7 Introduce more “Osu Sala” branches in rural areas to make low-income community accessible to medications at an affordable rate
8 Have free medical camps for general and specific checks in rural areas to keep the society healthy
9 Enforce regular health check-ups for all drivers, especially bus and heavy vehicle drivers through a centralized system
10 Centralized system to track the history (primary history, medical records, and criminal checks) of all the doctors
11 Impose strict quality, inspection strategies, and regulations on cosmetics and other beauty care products imported to the country
12 Enforce quality checks on baby products. For example, feeding bottles should be free of BPA and should have a certification to prove the validity
13 Promote the importance of indigenous medicines. Incorporate the nativity and the medicinal properties & benefits of these in school curriculum

Banking and Finance

1 Have a credit score system for everyone – this helps when sanctioning loans
2 Introduce more drive through ATMs in every bank
3 In rural areas, have many banks under one roof – to facilitate the ease of transaction
4 Introduce “payback” university student loans through public banks
5 Introduce free debit cards and limited number of check books for every new account. Enable PIN changes upon forgetting/losing. Currently in Sri Lanka, banks charge a fee for re-issuing debit cards

Agriculture

1 Introduce more organic farming concepts and eventually convert regular farming into organic farming
2 Encourage more plant-based meat products in Sri Lanka – to avoid animal agriculture
3 Introduce “farm to table” concept – to avoid over processing or under processing of foods. Inappropriate processing leads to various health discomforts, in both, short and long term
4 Have “seed banks” to preserve the native Sri Lankan flora
5 Introduce more “herbs & spice” gardens in cities and rural areas
6 Introduce the conversion of agricultural by-products to environmentally friendly applications – for example utilize banana leaves to make reusable biodegradable cutleries
7 Introduce “smart approach” for collecting fruit/vegetable peels from restaurants and households and handover to the farmers to make organic fertilizers

Nature and Gardening

1 Enforce vertical gardening in the new apartment complexes; encourage vertical gardens in the existing apartments
2 Pre-plant trees before beginning any largescale constructions activities – to give enough time for the trees to grow
3 Encourage house owners to grow plants in front of the premises under the supervision of Municipal Council - A “Green Crown Lanka” project
4 Plant more trees on both sides of the roads and in the middle of driveways under “Green Crown Lanka” project
5 Implement the process of converting fog into drinking water – areas of higher altitudes can be exploited in this technology
6 Implement the battery technology to make battery materials from sea water– coastal areas can be used as the working station for this technology
7 Introduce more solar panels (roofs and roads) to supply electricity for the country
8 Build flyovers in the regions where mostly animals’ crossover and result in animal-human accidents; providing safe under pass for animals will help them move undisturbed – to prevent the fauna of the country
9 Encourage schools/universities/government and private sector to plant trees at identified places. Local government authorities to should identify those places where more trees need to be planted and publish the details in a central database. This will help volunteers to identify such places easily. In addition, for places where there is less/no accessibility, “seed bomb” technology should be implemented
10 Convert vacant lots and transform them into parks, green places, and community gardens
11 Introduce clean air policy, where local authorities will be responsible to identify the areas of poor air quality – through air quality index measurements – and take necessary steps to restore the quality of air by proper measures
12 Introduce anti-idling policy for vehicles, both indoor and outdoor – to reduce the emission; the time frame can be set to somewhere between 4 to 5 minutes

Transportation and Logistics

1 Strict lane demarcations (bus, bike, tuk, and semi only in designated lanes) throughout the country
2 Enforce appropriate lane changes and driving ethics
3 Introduce digital/smartcard to be used in public/private transports (bus/train) – especially for the disabled
4 Introduce mandatory “Defensive Driver’s Certification” for all drivers before issuing the driver’s license
5 Buses to be stopped only at bus shelters and no ad-hoc stops
6 Capture traffic violations, digitalize, and send it to the owner for penalty; deadly violations should result in permanent cancellation of the license
7 Implement rules for both driver and the owner to be present upon traffic violation
8 Maintenance records, especially for heavy vehicles to be carried all the time and should be produced when necessary
9 Facilitate the bus with wheelchair lift and wheelchair seats to enable handicapped passengers utilize the bus transportation
10 Enable audio recordings in the bus/train to facilitate the handicapped passengers; introduce braille system in all public transportations
11 Centralized driving license system. In case of law breech, the officials can scan the license and retrieve driver information. The driver’s will not have to go to the postal offices to make payments for traffic violations and visit police station to collect license
12 Enforce CCTVs in the buses/trains
13 Enforce speed limits all island – especially within Colombo city and night/weekend when traffic is less
14 School buses and vans should go through a special maintenance check – to ensure the safety of the kids
15 Only limited passengers should be admitted in bus/train. No footboard travelling or stacking should be allowed
16 “Park and ride” for people entering from outstations to Colombo– to avoid traffic congestion in Colombo and other major cities
17 Standard uniforms for bus/train drivers and conductors – government provided uniforms and random inspection by authorities
18 Mandatory full health checkups for drivers and conductors
19 Enforce coordination between the utility authorities (water/electricity board) and the road authorities for proper post maintenance activities – after the road renovation
20 Communicate well-organized detours (proper sign boards, inform public ahead through various channels) for traffic during road maintenance
21 Implement “Blue book vehicle history” system for all the vehicles – to avoid vehicle thefts and alterations
22 Publish bus fare where all the passengers are aware on the fares to avoid overcharge by conductors; The bus fares should be charged as the passenger enters to avoid any monetary issues and at times abuses as well
23 Enforce ticket issuance, through penalty system, after getting payments from the passengers for the ride
24 Mandatory emission and audible testing every three to six months especially for heavy vehicles and buses – to reduce pollution
25 Introduce mobile based applications where any citizens are able to upload the photo and video evidence of any traffic violations along with the location. The respective authorities should have an access to the system to take necessary actions with the evidence
26 Buses should stop at the respective shelters until the passengers make their way out; buses moving impatiently causes a lot of unwanted accidents
27 All taxi services (Uber, Pickme, Metered tuk and vehicles) should be enforced with CCTVs to avoid injustice during the service
28 Enforce mandatory use of baby seats in vehicles. The rule has to meet the criteria of international standards
29 Seat belt laws should be extended to all the travelers in private vehicles and driver’s in buses, trains, and commercial vehicles
30 Enforce head lamp usage in all vehicles during dawn and dusk– to avoid accidents. Failure should lead to severe penalties

General

1 Introduce e-Services for police reports and criminal records. The centralized system will minimize the effort of physical verification and will facilitate easy access from any part of the country; biometrics of all the citizens should also be stored in the centralized system
2 Introduce number plate readers to capture the history of the vehicle and the owner at one-go – this avoids burden on the military and police officers who are burnt out in the huts to do paper work or manual entries on vehicles moving in and out of the main cities or provinces
3 Have a centralized system to capture traffic violations of, both, the driver and the vehicle
4 Introduce point systems for drivers – to monitor the driving history
5 Enforce parking in dedicated slots to utilize appropriate parking slots - for example motorbikes should not park at the car park slot
6 Introduce paid multistory parking slots within the city centers
7 Introduce water purification systems in canals and enforce CCTV at those sites to avoid garbage dumping
8 Regulate policies to ensure that the garbage collection lorries are cleaned before they set off for collection
9 Extend Colombo marine drive as much as it could and make it as South Asia’s longest, scenic, and vibrant highway – similar to Pacific Coastal Highway in the US
10 Provide affordable wheelchairs for handicaps
11 Enforce rules for private construction sites - many private constructions block the residential roads and cause traffic congestions without prior notices. Any such activities need approvals from authorities ahead of time
12 Mandatory leadership coaching for people in, both, public and private sectors
13 Enforce all documents and notices to be used in multi-lingual system at federal offices
14 Ban smoking in public areas – enforce “smoke free” signs; introduce designated smoking areas
15 Enforce identity card submission when purchasing liquor and/or cigarettes at the stores– this helps reduce underage smoking and alcohol consumption
16 Ban begging at intersections and traffic lights. Especially take measures to avoid child beggars. Have immediate contact numbers to report such occurrence and take necessary actions. Establish educational institutions to facilitate the education of child beggars
17 Establish counseling centers in villages to stop suicides. Offer appropriate training for such centers; utilize the recent/fresh graduates for such activities
18 Introduce more public washrooms with appropriate hygienic practices
19 Introduce more “sky walk bridges” to connect main commercial buildings and to minimize the pedestrian crossings within the city – this reduces pedestrian traffics and ensures the safety of the pedestrians
20 Regulate and standardize school admissions and donations involved directly/indirectly; inspect schools for appropriate sanitization conditions
21 Regulate elderly and children home care services
22 Smart cards (Concession cards) for senior citizens which, can be used in taxi services at a discounted rate
23 Enforce mandatory annual quality certification to all the residential places. For example, building quality checks at apartments
24 Enforce fire alarms in all the buildings (commercial and non-commercial properties)
25 Revamp existing government e-Service websites and portals with up to date information; enable online appointments for certain services
26 Digitalize provincial level business registration process
27 Ban posters and/or hoardings and encourage digital advertising
28 Standardize and regulate online delivery websites– accounting for a nominal delivery charges especially when operating, without any registration, during emergency, disaster, or pandemic situations
29 Introduce “pet shelters” to remove stray animals such as stray dogs and cats
30 Introduce renter’s history system. This will help screen for illegal activities at residential areas
31 Enforce strict rules to turn off engines when fueling at the fuel stations. In addition, extend the rules to restrict mobile phone usage when fueling
32 Take actions to create attractive opportunities at public organizations– to gravitate many graduates. This will drive more people towards public sectors and avoid inferiorities
33 Enforce strict laws to protect copyright on multiple sectors. For example, ban selling pirated CDs
34 Strictly enforce patent laws for novel findings. The credibility should be directed to the principal investigator and a fraction for the facilities. Revise Intellectual Protocol (IP) policies
35 Enforce quarterly visits to the restaurants and update health certifications on food safety and hygienic practices