27 February 2019

The Dark Side of Life

Maldivians marginalized in the Maldives

In the Maldives, the tourism industry is touted as the goose that lays golden eggs. According to the World Bank, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita ballooned from 600 USD in 1985 to over 9,000 USD by 2017. The nation graduated from one of the 20 poorest countries in the world in 1980 to a middle income country by 2017. A quarter of the overall GDP comes from tourism. While the country got rich, the majority of the population got poor in comparison. Centralization policies and the excessive tourism development on uninhabited islands benefit only a chosen few.

Centralization on Male’

The Maldives consists of more than 1200 islands - 188 of them are inhabited – stretching over more than 750 kilometres.  Fifty years ago, inhabitants of the islands in the north and south were living a prosperous life based on agriculture and fishing. Raw materials for agricultural products were collected from forest areas of inhabited islands as well as uninhabited islands nearby. Direct trade with neighbouring countries flourished. Common goods exported included coir rope, coconut, and other agricultural products as well as value added items made from fish, such as dried or salted fish. However, halting of direct trading activities from various islands to foreign countries due to centralization of commerce and transport in Male caused decline of local agriculture and fish processing based on a vibrant small holder industry, leading to loss of livelihoods – particularly for women and youth. read more 

13 August 2016

How to ban economic activities in Raajjethere creatively!

Policy of an inclusive fair economic agenda would be
  • No island left behind
  • No citizen left behind
  • Ensure every citizen have an equal opportunity to grow, to prosper and contribute to development of their islands and atoll communities.

Recent Amendment to Regulation on operating tourist hotels in the Maldives, by Tourism ministry prohibits Islands without 24hrs electricity, police station, and health services running tourist hotels! As per statistics of Maldives police service, 107 islands in Maldives do not have Police presence. The result is excluding 98,329 Maldivian citizens from earning an income from mid-market tourism opportunities.  The regulation will also limit competition (guess to who)  while encouraging forced migration and depopulation by making it tough for 58% of islands to create jobs within the community.

Call upon government to reconsider the amendments and not to let few oligarchs hijack economic policy! 

Effected atolls by new amendment to Regulation on operating tourist hotels*
 *excluding Male' Addu, Fuvahmulah

Note: 64% of islands from Bodu Thiladhunmathi banned from operating tourist  hotels! The most effected are the most disadvantaged. #TourismNehHdh

18 February 2016

Migration and Atoll Development survey, Maldives

Dear All,

Would appreciate if you could complete the Migration and Atoll Development survey, Maldives.

The results of this survey will be used in the book "Falhu Aliran Muy" on migration and development of atolls in the Maldives.

Thank You

6 August 2015

Beggars (islanders) cannot be choosers!

Aren’t you surprised at people who are surprised by the very predictable results of elections in the Maldives?

Think of an island. In practice, do they have permission to carry out any activity mentioned in decentralization law to maintain or develop their island?  The central government in Male’, is one and only way through which provision of even basic services necessary for humans to survive in an island, is allowed. Islands can’t even dump their garbage, provide water, electricity, even housing plots, without the direct approval of central government.  

The island councils elected by the people, have been reduced to the role of a messenger to beg and plead, to central government, on behalf of people, thanks to the Local Government Authority given the task of empowering them! In Maldives everything works backwards or just the opposite of what is written because Maldives is where even good theories on governance or anything else, comes to die! 

Reports note that governance is even more centralized after the new constitution and decentralization law was passed. As in Maldivian history, rural Islands are forced to have a master slave relationship with government instead of the latter becoming a development partner who assists and empower them.   In such an autocratic disempowered state, do the islanders in Maldives have any other choice other than electing representatives of government? 

Only when island communities are allowed to carry out developmental activities as mandated by Decentralization Act, they will start thinking about who can best assist them, on merit, rather than electing government backed candidates by default. International or locals, taking Maldives local elections as a sign of support for any ruling party of the day, needs to do a reality check!

14 June 2015

Powers given to Island and Atoll Councils by now “Disabled” Decentralization law!

  9. Services Rendered by the Atoll Councils

The atoll council shall provide the following services to the people of the islands within the administrative divisions in accordance with the powers and responsibilities stipulated in Article 8 of this Act. The government shall make financial and other facilities available within a reasonable time frame required to provide the services identified:

(a) Provide the services that have to be rendered to more than one island in the administrative division, and undertake tasks that have been mandated to the council under various statutes;

(b) Among the various public services rendered by the Government ministries and offices, provide those services that are required to be delivered in the administrative division through the atoll councils;

(c) Provide assistance and cooperation required by the state institutions and Government offices established in the administrative division;
(d) Establish and maintain a registration of islands and their lands fall within the administrative division and provide the information required by national land registration authority;
(e) Assist island councils in seeking technical and financial assistance;

(f) Provide consultancies required to the island councils;

(g)  Administer and implement projects in the Development Plan of Administrative Division that have not been assigned to a particular island council;

(h) Provide other services which are assigned to the councils, by a Law.

23. Powers and Responsibilities of the Island Council

Following are the powers and Responsibilities of the island council:

(a) Administer and develop the island in accordance with the Constitution and statutes and provide municipal services as prescribed in this Act; 

(b) Prepare island development plans in consultation with the community, and submit the plan to the atoll council;

(c) In accordance with this Act, implement development projects planned and assigned by the government in line with the island development plans formulated by islands and submitted to the atoll councils; 

(d) Assist Government ministries and atoll councils in monitoring the progress of various development projects, and be accountable to the atoll council during project implementation and submit reports according to the requirements of the ministries and atoll Council;

(e) Formulate island level policies necessary to discharge the powers and responsibilities conferred to the island council by this Act, and formulate and implement required regulations for the purpose;

(f) On behalf of the people of the island, make decisions that are deemed necessary to discharge the powers and responsibilities conferred to the island council by this Act;

(g) Manage public resources and funds of the island;
(h) In accordance with the Land Law of the Maldives and other statutes, for economic or social use, the council acquire land, reefs and lagoons and own in the name of the council and lease out these  properties and invest in and own the investments in the name of the council;  
(i) Lease out and give lagoons and land for different purposes as mandated by national authority for land management in accordance with the Land Law and as per the island’s Land Use Plan; 

(j) For economic or social use, obtain and own movable and immovable assets and lease or give such assets maintained by the council to other parties as per regulations formulated under this Act; 

(k) Within the limits stipulated by this Act, seek loans from financial institutions to fund development activities and submit financial rights, interests and assets to the loan provider as security and create funds for other undertakings;
(l) When the council members are replaced or if the name of the council is changed, take responsibility for the work undertaken by the previous council;

(m) In accordance with the regulations formulated under this Act, determine and collect fees for the services provided or facilitated by the council;

(n) In the event that a person’s land and private property have to be acquired in the interest of the public, acquire such effects after giving a fair and just compensation to the owner in accordance with the Law;
(o) Name and alter the names of vehicles and vessels  operated by the council, and public places of the island such as roads, parks and places from where the council renders its services;

(p) Open or close temporarily or permanently, roads parks or public squares of the islands;

(q) Provide the assistance and support needed by the state institutions and Government authorities established in the island;
(r) Submit the reports stated in this Act, to the relevant authorities;

(s) Use the council’s seal after registration at the at the relevant Government authority;

(t) In accordance with the statutes of the Maldives, make productive use of the reefs, lagoons and other natural resources of the island;
(u) Take all necessary measures to establish a safe and peaceful environment in the island in collaboration with the police;
(v) In matters which fall within the council’s jurisdiction, or if any person in the council’s area is suspected of having committed an act against the Law, request for police assistance in investigating the matter;  
(w) Administer the office of the island council;
(x) Undertake other activities prescribed by a Law.

24. Services Rendered by the Island Council


The island council shall provide the following municipal services to the people of the island in which the council was constituted; in accordance with the powers and responsibilities stated in Article 23 of this Act:

(a) Build and maintain roads of the island;

(b) Dispose waste in a reasonably safe manner at the island level as it does not create any inconvenience to the community;

(c) Maintain the jetty of the island, build and maintain wharf, and operate the ferry terminal of the island;
(d) In accordance with the Law of the Maldives, take  necessary measures to alleviate the land erosion problem and maintain the jetty and the breakwater of the island;

(e) In accordance with the law of the Maldives, provide and maintain public facilities such as water, electricity, and sewage system;
(f) In accordance with the Law of the Maldives, provide primary health care and other basic health security services;

(g) In accordance with the Law of the Maldives, provide preschool education and organize and conduct educational and vocational programs to train adults;
(h) Administer the island library, archive official documents, preserve old and historical documents of the island in the library and with the help of modern facilities, provide access to information;

(i) Maintain social centers, play grounds or sports fields and provide sporting facilities, public parks and entertainment services;
(j) In accordance with the Law of the Maldives, run a center to provide social security services, take measures to stop domestic violence and provide the victims of such violence with security and assistance and put in place a system to help senior citizens and people with special needs;

(k) In accordance with the Land Law of the Maldives and in a manner which does not contravene the island’s Land Use Plan, allocate land and register land and buildings, and monitor if all building work undertaken is in accordance with the building regulations of the Maldives and other regulations by relevant Government ministries, and in accordance with the Land Laws and other such Laws of the Maldives, keep record of all dealings undertaken by parties in regards to matters of land;

(l) Maintain a land registry of the island and provide information required for the national land registration authority;

(m) Maintain mosques;

(n) Maintain cemeteries, establish burial service mechanism and organize for burial services;

(o) Maintain historical places and promote and revive culture;
(p) Commemorate religious and national days of importance and hold religious and national
(q) Organize to sweep and clean the roads, maintain cleanliness of the island and its beauty;

(r) Provide the island with adequate lighting at night;

(s) Pest controlling;

(t) Establish a mechanism that provides assistance in an event of emergency;

(u) Monitor and check if shops, tea boutiques, restaurants, cafĂ©’s, guest houses and public markets comply with standards, rules and regulations set by the law of the Maldives and take corrective measures; 

(v) Organize and manage for pedestrians, motor  vehicles and non motor vehicles to use the roads as according to the  standards set by the statutes of the Maldives, and organize and manage public land and sea transport services which levy a fee to operate in compliance with the standards set by the relevant Government authority;  

(w) Assist the Courts of Law and Government authorities to execute the sentences passed by the Courts of Law.

(x) Issuing and cancellation of permits and registries;  that Government ministries provide through the island councils, and on matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the island council, and on matters that have been assigned to the island council under various laws;  

(y) Manage the birth and death registry of the island,  and gather and maintain the statistical records of the island,  maintain a registry of citizen  and non-citizen of the island, and maintain a registry of foreigners living on the island; 

(z) Provide other services that are prescribed by Laws.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" Mahatma Gandhi