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Book on ‘Sri Lankan Economy in Transition’ launched

The Department of Economics, University of Kelaniya jointly with the Sri Lanka Economic Association launched a book titled: "Sri Lanka Economy in Transition: Progress, Problems, and Prospects" as a tribute to the first Professor of Economics at University of Kelaniya, Prof. Jayantha Kelegama. The book was launched by the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Tissa Vitarana, who was the Chief Guest at the event, which took place at the Kelaniya University on Friday.

Jayantha Kelegama was the founding Professor of Economics at Kelaniya and served the University as the Head of the Department and Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1959 to 1966. He was also a Central Banker and civil servant who served as the Director of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance and Planning in the 1960s and as Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Internal and External Trade during 1970-1977.

In the Foreword to the book, W.A. Wijewardena, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, states: "Jayantha Kelegama was a rare combination of many diverse talents and skills…. He was an active promoter of trade, an ardent advocate of balanced regional growth and a fierce defender of the under-privileged. He never hesitated to apply his critical eye to policy options suggested at various times and this rare professional approach earned him awe and respect of all."

The 625 pages Volume has 21 Chapters and is divided into nine sections: (1) Issues on Economic Policy Making; (2) Reflection on Policy Making in a Closed Economy; (3) Transition to an Open Economy: Consolidating the Gains and Lessons; (4) Macroconomy: Fiscal and Monetary Policy; (5) Macroeconomy: Emerging Issues; (6) Industrialization and Infrastructure; (7) Agriculture and Food; (8) Poverty: Role of Microfinance and Microenterprises, and (9) Social Transitions.

The 21 Chapters are: ‘Economic Policy-Making: Limitations and Controversy’ (Lakdasa Hulugalle), ‘Social Science and the Policy Process: Social Scientists as Policy Advisers’ (Laksiri Jayasuiriya), ‘Closed Economy and Dr. N.M. Perera’s Economic Strategy’ (Buddhadasa Hewavitharana), Demonetization of the Rupee: The Anatomy of a MonetaryExperiment (Sarath Rajapatirana), ‘Export-Led Industrialization: Are the Critics Right?’ (Prema-Chandra Athukorala) , Political Economy of Tariff Reforms (Ravi Ratnayake), ‘From a Closed Regime to an Open Economy and Lessons for the Future’ (A.D.V. de S. Indraratna), Fiscal and Taxation Policy Changes in Relation to Development Policy (D.D.M. Waidyasekera), Central Bank Independence and Price Stability (Wimal Hettiarachchi), Inflation: Measurement and Trends (Raja B.M. Korale), Public Debt in the Current International Environment (Nihal Kappagoda), Macro-Economic Consequences of Financial Globalization for Developing Countries: Policy Challenges and Options (K.G.D.D. Dheerasinghe), Impact of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on the Balance of Payments: 1978-2007 (J.M.P. Pathirage), Manufacturing Industry (G. Chris Rodrigo), Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project and the Destiny of Colombo Port (K. Dharmasena), Long-term Policy Trends and Major Challenges in Agriculture (Jayatillake S. Bandara and Sisira Jayasuriya), Food Security: Current Status, Policies, and Challenges (Upali Wickramasinghe), Microfinance in Economic Development with Poverty Alleviation (M.U.A. Tennakoon), The Determinants of Entrepreneurial Capacity in Poverty Related Microenterprise Development Programmmes (Ranjith Bandara), The Economic and Social Consequences of Demographic Changes (Nimal Sanderatne), and The Problems of the Universities System (Wiswa Warnapala).

Prof. A.D.V. de S Indraratna, President of the Sri Lanka Economic Association, and Prof. K. Dharmasena, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Kelnaiya spoke on Jayantha Kelegama’s contribution to the Sri Lankan economic policy making and to the Department of Economics at the University of Kelaniya, respectively at the book launch while Prof. Sirmal Abeyratne of the Department of Economics, University of Colombo, reviewed the book. The Chief Guest, Prof. Tissa Vitarana said that there is a need to design national economic policies that supports both domestic requirements and international integration, and this is an area where Jayantha Kelegama made a vital contribution.

The book was initiated by the Department of Economics, University of Kelaniya and is edited by the Head of the Department, Dr. Ajitha Tennakoon. It is published by Vijitha Yapa Publications.

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