By – Mahesh De Andrado
We initially took a look at Manthri.lk back in 2014. At the time, it was a platform used to analyze and summarize the work done by each member of the Parliament in Sri Lanka. The key here was that it would be done in a way that your average Siripala could check the website and see what promises each of the members have made, and their progress in actually keeping to said promises. Now almost 5 years later, the Manthri.lk website still exists, but what has changed? Well, that’s what we’re going to find out.
First things first
As you land on the home page, the first thing you notice is the search bar. You can use this to search for any member of parliament, a political party or a particular topic. Located at the top of the page are a number of tabs. These range from Politicians, to Ranks, Topics and Parties.
The homepage of Manthri.lk has undergone a facelift since we first saw it in 2014 (Image Credits: Manthri.lk)
Learning about Our Politicians
This is where details of all the members of Parliament get listed. You can filter your search based on their name, political party and district or any of the 3 in combination. From there, you can view records of said MP. You can select your favorite politicians and compare up to 5 of them to see their participation in Parliament as well as their rank for each topic available.
Each of the MPs has his/her own profile which lists down details such as their name, age, where they are contesting from, their party as well as their contact number. The profile also lists down the topics said MP has taken part in along with their activities. The activities can take the form of Bills or Regulation Orders that the MP has been a part of. For additional information, the Biography section lists down their date of birth, gender, and educational qualifications. It also lists down how long the MP has been in Parliament.
Ranking Up in Manthri.lk
A feature that has been there since Manthri.lk launched, the Rankings page ranks all the MPs according to the topics they’re involved in and how active they’ve been in said topics. One thing we did notice was that the ranking doesn’t show how long the MPs were ranked for. For example, if Minister A was ranked Number 1 for 2 weeks, we should know what those two weeks were. For now, there’s no actual way to validate if these rankings are accurate or not.
The Rankings page also allows you to filter your search results based on Topics, Activity, Party, District and also by start date and end date. In terms of Topics, you can filter a range from Agriculture, to Trade, Justice, Education, Labor etc. As for activities, they are listed as Private Member’s Motion, Petitions, Bills, Regulations etc. The Parties dropdown lists all political parties in Sri Lanka along with their acronym and the district lists down, well, the district you’re searching for.
Topics for Discussion (No Pun intended)
Another section that existed from the time Manthri.lk originally launched, the Topics page lists down all the major topics discussed and debated on during Parliament hearings. A total of 12 topics are listed ranging from Agriculture, Natural resources, reconciliation, trade, welfare, justice, national heritage, media, sports, economy, education labor, technology, governance, health, urban planning and rights & representation.
Clicking on each topic gives you a summary of how many times the topic was discussed in parliament as well as the number of MPs who were involved in the discussions of said topic. It also ranks the top 12 participant MPs in a particular topic.
Let’s get this Party Started
The Party section is basically a breakdown of all the political parties in Sri Lanka. The name of each party along with its respective logo, party leader and party secretary are also listed down. The page also displays the total number of MPs who are involved in the parties as well. This is helpful if you want to see which party has the most amount of members.
Clicking on a party shows you the number of individual MP contributions, as well as the number of MPs in Parliament. It also gives you the top 5 MPs in a party and a full list of all the MPs in the party as well. That essentially is a backlink to the Politicians section that we spoke about earlier.
Keeping their promises
Perhaps the most important section of Manthri.lk, apart from the individual MP progress is the Election Promises. The Parliamentary Election Promises lists down all the promises that both the UNFGG (United National Front for Good Governance) and the UPFA (United People’s Freedom Alliance) made in their respective election manifestos. A pie chart for each party shows the progress of these promises.
You can take an in-depth look by clicking the image above each of the party names. A few promises caught our attention from the UPFA. For example, the Establishment of “Free Education Revival Fund” which would protect the rights of children in accessing free education has not been kept. Another promise not kept was to Bar criminals from contesting in parliament. According to the promise, any individual who is convicted, has suspended sentences, is involved in drug trafficking, destruction of the environment or has not handed in their asset declaration is barred from contesting Parliament.
On the other hand, the UNFGG has not reported any progress on the promises made to establish 11 Industrial and technological development mega zones either. All in all, if the data on Manthri.lk is trusted and accurate, a majority of the electoral promises have not been kept. A portion is in progress and only a small percentage of promises have actually been kept.
The Maithrimeter, which is part of the Election Promises section listed down all that the current president would do once he came into power. Its overall progress is 93% complete. It’s not perfect or ideal. If a plan is made, the point is to stick to the plan. Else, why make a plan or a promise if you don’t intend to keep it in the first place?
Keeping an eye on members of parliament
Overall, Manthri.lk does a good job of keeping track of which MPs are involved in what topics, their rankings in parties and the topics discussed in Parliament. As citizens of the country, we have a right to know what’s going on in the political scene of the country and Manthri.lk provides a platform do that exact purpose. As we said when we first took a look at it, Manthri.lk is a powerful tool if maintained properly. Ensuring that all data entered is up-to-date and accurate is the first step to this.
Manthri.lk is also available in Sinhala and Tamil as well. If you haven’t already checked it out, you can do so by clicking here.