Business confidence zoomed with the election of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. As he gave oaths as President on 18 November, the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) all share price index (ASPI) climbed by 106 points (1.77%), closing at 6,129.5, the highest so far this year, on a daily turnover of LKR 2.41 bn.

The newly elected President of Sri Lanka, Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa, comes into office pledged to build a prosperous Sri Lanka with the maximum participation of the people, the avowed goals being “A productive citizen, a happy family, a disciplined society and a prosperous nation.”

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (Masses Front) manifesto under which Rajapaksa contested revolves around a programme for turning this vision into reality. At the core of this programme, drawn up by a team of politicians, scholars and professionals, lie ten key policies.

We quote these key policies, from the Manifesto, below:

1. Priority to National Security

There are many international examples where the collapse or deterioration of national security eventually led to a country losing its status as a nation state. The continuity of any nation state depends on the emphasis placed on national security. Our government will adopt new methodologies to safeguard national security without compromising the democratic space available to our people

2. Friendly, Non-aligned, Foreign Policy

The basis of our foreign policy will be ensure that Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity and independence are respected and protected in the interests of the citizen and future generations of this country. It also aims to ensure that Sri Lanka’s dignity as a sovereign nation is respected. No harmful agreements /treaties will be entered into by our government. Our foreign policy will be based on non-alignment and mutual friendship and trust among nations.

3. An administration Free from Corruption

Today the people of the country expect all government officials and politicians to be of high moral standing and to provide a public service free from corruption and graft. This is the form of governance that will be carried out by our government.

4. A New Constitution that Fulfils the Wishes of the People

The constitutional changes that have taken place were introduced to suit the requirements of certain individuals and political parties, and have therefore failed to reflect the peoples’ aspirations. It is our desire to bring about constitutional reforms in accordance with the wishes of the people.

5. A Productive Citizenry and Vibrant Human Resource

A country’s progress is dependent upon its peoples’ knowledge, skills and capabilities. These attributes change overtime and Sri Lanka too needs to develop its peoples’ knowledge, skills and competencies to compete at a global level. This challenge will be undertaken by our government.

6. People Centric Economic Development

We pledge to develop a people centric economic model whereby every citizen of this country can participate and take pride in the work they do as every job is required for the progress of this country. The thrust of our growth model will be focused on promoting agriculture and fisheries to become global players. This will be done through incentivizing entrepreneurs and infusing new technology to enhance production and productivity.

7. Technology Based Society

We pledge to bring about a technological revolution across all sectors. A country cannot progress without adapting to the rapid technological changes taking place. It is with this in mind that our policies will create the environment required to develop the IT competencies and language skills of future generations, in order to enable them to conquer global markets.

8. Development of Physical Resources

In order to develop the country it is paramount that we utilize every square inch of our country in a productive manner by integrating all regions. This will ensure that regional disparities are eliminated and income distribution takes place in an equitable manner. Therefore, it is imperative that we fill the existing gaps in the physical infrastructure needed for this purpose. We as a government are ready to undertake this challenge.

9. Sustainable Environmental Management

It is our pledge to ensure that the environment is protected in all our development plans. This will ensure that future generations are handed over a country that is not polluted. We shall bring about amendments to existing laws, and if necessary new legislation will be introduced in order to strengthen and protect our forest cover, rivers, streams, and wildlife.

10. Disciplined, Law Abiding and Values Based Society

It is our pledge to bring about a country where no one is above the law. Our intention is to ensure that the legal system works devoid of considerations of political affiliations, social standing, and connections. In this context, we will also ensure that our traditional values as a country are protected. We will ensure that differently-abled citizens and the young people of all religious beliefs and ethnicities are accorded the ability to develop their talents in a safe environment.