Sri Lanka’s economic condition is deteriorating rapidly; Sri Lankan citizens face various hardships due to the ongoing economic crisis. Over this weekend, two senior citizens have died as they were waiting in long queues to buy fuel. The government has also canceled examinations as there is a shortage of papers.
The reasons for the economic crisis are various; the first wave of pandemic created an early sign of economic distress, as thousands of Srilanlankan laborers were stranded in various other countries have returned to their countries and are now jobless, many small scale industries like the garment industries and the tea estates had been shut down; hence the export system of Srilankan garments and tea had been hit brutally.
There was no comprehensive planning by the government to respond to the crisis; also, some of the decisions taken by the government, like the switching to organic farming, which was ill-advised by the experts, worsened the situation. While the government had declared emergency regulations last year, this emergency was imposed on distributions of essential food items, and wide restrictions on imports were also imposed due to which there was a huge market irregularity.
While the common citizens and different segments of political parties are protesting on the streets and demanding that President Rajapaksa resign, many media houses are also criticizing the government; President Rajapaksa has said that “ this crisis was not created by me.” He has also stated that this situation has arisen due to the pandemic. Colombo has also sought support from bilateral partners, including India, through loans, currency swaps, and credit lines for import essentials. It is important to see how the Srilankan government will support the coup up with the ongoing economic crisis.