Centre for Policy Alternatives on 13 August, 2021

Is the Cure Worse than the Disease? Reflections on COVID Governance in Sri Lanka

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13th August, 2021 – Is the Cure Worse than the Disease? Reflections on Pandemic Governance in Sri Lanka is the result of an initiative of Social Indicator (SI), the survey research arm of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA). The ‘Socio-Economic Index In the Face of COVID-19’, an island wide opinion poll conducted from February-March 2021 by SI, aimed to capture the experiences and perceptions of Sri Lankans through the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings derived from this survey compelled a more in-depth consideration of many of the themes therein, leading to the idea of a research volume germinating in the minds of the project team.        

Stemming from this context, this volume examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the political, economic, and social life of Sri Lankan society, and its’ transformative effect on the political culture of the country: How have the strategies and policies adopted by the government to fight the pandemic impacted society? More particularly, how have such strategies and policies impacted on delivering governance, health, and education fairly across all communities? Chapters of the volume are a quest for answers to these questions focusing on different sectors of society, their experience of the pandemic, and the implications of such experience on their future trajectory.

Click here to download the complete book. Individual chapters and contributions can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.


Cover Photo by Nazly Ahmed 



List of Contributors


by Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu 

Preface and Acknowledgements 


Editor’s Introduction (Chapter 1)

Introduction Reflections on COVID governance in Sri Lanka by Pradeep Peiris 

Chapter 2

Sri Lanka’s accelerated democratic decay amidst a pandemic by Bhavani Fonseka and Kushmila Ranasinghe 

Chapter 3

Healing the population by constructing subjects: Pandemic governmentality of Sri Lanka by Pradeep Peiris

Chapter  4

Lives or livelihoods? The erosion of welfare in Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 response by Nipunika O. Lecamwasam

Chapter 5

Ethno-centric pandemic governance: The Muslim community in Sri Lanka’s COVID response by Sakina Moinudeen 

Chapter 6

Not-so-free education: State-citizen relations in Sri Lanka’s educational policy response to the pandemic by Hasini Lecamwasam

Chapter 7

Out of the frying pan into the fire: Life of migrant garment workers in the COVID-19 response by Kaushini Dammalage 

Chapter 8

Contacts during difficult times: A study on the function of social networks in accessing state services during the COVID-19 pandemic by Shashik Silva 


Annexure 1


Annexure 2


Annexure 3