|Dr. Leel Gunasekera
||Prof. Tennyson Perera
||S. A. Premaratne
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's extended version of the Mahinda Chinthana Idiri Dekma new election manifesto is a well thought out visionary document, said a senior member of the former Ceylon Civil Service and Regional Adviser, Social Development - Policy Planning, UN-ESCAP Dr. Leel Gunasekera.
He said the implementation of the proposals contained in the Chinthana will usher in an era of self-sufficiency in food, clothing and housing.
"With peace what is expected is morality, the corollary to social development. People's participation in governing themselves and decision-making within the democratic process is an essential feature of social development", he said.
He said under Mahinda Chinthana all sectors of society have been taken care of in the context of infrastructural inputs including financial provisions. Now with the implementation of the extended Mahinda Chinthana proposals, there is much more to be achieved, he stressed.
He also said a civilised nation is judged by the standards they maintain while the quality of human life is judged by the calorie intake necessary to maintain both mental and physical health.
The extended Mahinda Chinthana persues all these objectives with integrity and a sense of commitment, with people's participation which is very important, he said.
The social development proposals of the Mahinda Chinthana extended version have a greater impact on society, said Head, Sri Jayawardenapura University's Sociology and Anthropology Department, Prof.B. A. Tennyson Perera.
He said according to the Mahinda Chinthana every family in Sri Lanka should have a decent home to live a healthy and prosperous life. Within the next six years, the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government will launch a mega housing project to benefit all sectors of society.
The Professor said youth form a vital part of society. The Mahinda Chinthana envisages to provide every youth with quality education, technical training and attractive job opportunities. Referring to the 1971 and 1989 youth uprisings in Sri Lanka, he said the youth should be empowered to take over the nation's future responsibilities.
Another important requirement is to make Sri Lanka the hub of knowledge in the reigion, he said. Disciplined and educated human resources are the most precious asset of the country. Mahinda Chinthana pledges to reverse the "brain drain" and create a new generation which will ensure the flow of knowledge to the country and also earn foreign exchange, he said.
Leading Attorney-at-Law S. A. Premaratna said the foundation for the Mahinda Chinthana which was laid down four years ago has largely facilitated the implementation of the first phase of the Chinthana.
The extended version of the Mahinda Chinthana election manifesto of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is geared to achieve a developed society. Proposals in the Chinthana will help Sri Lanka to be transformed into a developed country, he said.
Mahinda Chinthana Idiri Dekma targets an ambitious goal of doubling the per capita income from US$ 2000 to US$ 4000.
The inflow of foreign exchange through foreign employment and tea and rubber exports has helped improve the per capita income during the last four years from US$ 800 to US$ 2000, he said.
Moves to provide a healthy atmosphere for pensioners is a commendable proposal, he said.
The set-up of a Pension Fund for private and government employees who are not entitled to pension rights is another worthy proposal in the Chinthana, Premaratna stressed.