Local Government Services and Social Margins: The Case of Plantation Community in Sri Lanka

  •  S. Vijesandiran    
  •  R. Ramesh    


Decentralization and local governance have been perceived as an effective tool for efficient, accountable, responsive and impartial public service delivery to all segments of citizens irrespective of ethnicity, race, gender, caste, language, social groupings etc. This paper, thus, throws more light on local government service delivery in the minority regions, especially looking at the status of plantation community in the local governance structures in Sri Lanka. The study finds that although Sri Lanka has adopted decentralized local government system at different levels, it has often been failed to effectively accommodate and address interests of ethno-linguistic minorities –Plantation Tamils. Exclusion of the plantation community in the service delivery of local government authorities has been a significant flaw of local government system which fundamentally challenges the notion of inclusive state, quality of government and democracy. The study particularly explores major factors that preclude plantation community from enjoying local government services. This issue, thus, stems a critical question about their status of citizenship rights and quality of governance in Sri Lanka. This study also may be a reflection of the plight of minorities in other multi-ethnic nations where discriminatory laws and policies affect right to access local governance and democracy.

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