ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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CEYLON-Cracks in Coalition

Cracks in Coalition Ananda Jayavira THE uncertain calm that prevailed after the April uprising of the Peopled Liberation Front has been shuttered by a political crisis in the United Front Government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike as well as an economic crisis of unprecedented magnitude. Faced with a deficit of over Rs 2,000 'million the Government had decided on a 'package deal of land reform, income ceiling and nationalisation on the one hand, and drastic cuts in welfare, expenditure on the other. Bandaranaike was to announce a land ceiling of 50 acres per family and the nationalisation of several key industries in a pre-budget speech. The Minister of Finance, N M Petera, was then to propose the other more unpopular measures. But the right-wing elements in her party persuaded Bandaranaike that the announcement of a land ceiling would lead to immediate encroachment and squatting by villagers and the nationalisation measures were dropped in order not to annoy the Western aid- giving countries. The result was that on November 10, Bandaranaike made a vague 'throne speech' refraining from announcing anything concrete, and the next day, Perera, who was neatly outmanoeuvred, was left to announce the increases in the prices of rice, bread and Hour, the rationing of sugar at two pounds a month per person, and charges for medical attention at government hospitals (previously free). The budget also placed a ceiling of Rs 2,000 on disposable incomes and a limitation on floor space of residential houses.

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