India’s External Affairs minister during a recent visit to Sri Lanka expressed India’s “considered view” with the Sri Lankan President that the full implementation of the 13th Amendment was “critical” for power devolution.
What is 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka:
- It is an outcome of the India-Sri Lanka Peace Accord of July 1987, signed by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R. Jayawardene.
- It was an attempt to resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict that had aggravated into a full-fledged civil war, between the armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
- The 13th Amendment, led to the creation of Provincial Councils.
- It assured a power sharing arrangement to enable all nine provinces in the country, including Sinhala majority areas, to self-govern.
- Subjects such as education, health, agriculture, housing, land and police are devolved to the provincial administrations.
- It made Tamil one of Sri Lanka’s official languages and English, a link language.
- The amendment has never been fully implemented because of the overriding powers given to the President.
Q1) What is India-Sri Lanka Peace Accord of 1987?
The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was an accord signed in Colombo on 29 July 1987, between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J. R. Jayewardene. The accord was expected to resolve the Sri Lankan Civil War by enabling the thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka and the Provincial Councils Act of 1987.