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Sri lanka News – Sri Lanka is looking into automation and robotics to combat an aging population and the challenges it presents in terms of labour, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“Our population profile suggests there will be [more older people and fewer young people. Why don’t we start now with being semi-automated and then go on to automation, to robotics?” Wickremesinghe said addressing the Post Budget Forum 2023 organised by the Colombo University MBA Alumni Association on Friday November 19.

According to the World Bank report for 2021, Sri Lanka holds an aging population of 12.3 percent, accounting for the highest proportion of adults over 60 in the South Asian region.

A research done by H R Anulawathie Menike from the Kelaniya University shows that the contribution to a high rate of aging popluation is due to a decrease in the rate of fertility, a decreasing child population and a decrease in the rate of mortality leading to increased life expectancy.

“We might as well encourage for automation and robotics, for which we need a completely new system of education,” said Wickremesinghe.

The president stated that he had been criticised for the budget having insufficient allocation for education for 2023, as the country’s Education Ministry is still recovering from the pandemic.

“Even if you give more money, they will not be in a position to spend that money effectively. It is much better to plan and give them more money from next year onwards,” he said.

Although Sri Lanka strives to leap into automation and robotics, several industries claim that the country is not cash ready nor culturally ready to accept technological challenges. (Colombo/Nov19/2022)

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