From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Ambitious plans for double-digit GDP growth is at the back of the governments mind in a post-war era. More importantly, economic growth must benefit the man on the street.
While experts say that GDP growth in the open market era has widened the rich and poor divide, economists point out that while the rich-poor gap is growing, an even more worrying trend is emerging in the wide disparity shown in regional GDP figures.rn

rnMeegahakiula – a perfect picture of village life. The paddy fields that dominate the landscape are green. If everything goes well the harvest will be in a few months.rn

rnWeerasinghe who has been farming these lands for over 15 years likes to walk along his paddy fields in the morning surveying his crops. It is a perfect start to the day, he says.rn

rnHowever, he doesnt get to do his morning walks as often as he likes. rn

rnWeerasinghe only grows paddy in his fields for four months of the year. rn

rnDuring the rest of the time he has to depend on other jobs fo