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Thursday, 02 June 2011



Muttukrishna Sarvananthan is in pursuit of intellectual excellence and integrity in research and innovations in pedagogy/andragogy/heutagogy. He is personally a Ceylonese (known as Sri Lanka since 1972) by birth and Sri Lankan by citizenship and domicile; but professionally, and in terms of work ethic, a British having been trained as a Development Economist there during the course of successfully completing three postgraduate degrees in England and Wales between 1987 and 1999.       



Muttukrishna Sarvananthan has undertaken incisive, insightful, and foresighted policy research during the past twenty-four years (1999-2023) of his post-doctoral professional research career (Research Impact Metrics h-index 12, i10-index 16 as of August 2023 Muttukrishna Sarvananthan has undertaken impactful peer-reviewed research, public dissemination in peer-reviewed international and regional journals, and public intellectual advocacy through mass media (print, electronic, & digital) in Sri Lanka and abroad.


Additionally, in recent years he has gained expertise in detecting intellectual/research/scientific fraud (detection of publications in predatory journals or by predatory publishers, detecting publications from paper mills, and plagiarism) by academics in Sri Lanka thereby championing ethics in science and research integrity.


A total of 55 peer-reviewed scholarly publications, inter alia, has been the output during the 30-year period between 1994 (first peer-reviewed publication) and 2023, which includes 37 journal articles (67%), 9 book chapters (16%), 6 books/monographs (11%), and 3 working papers (5%). His academic publications have been consistent/regular; resulting in 2 publications per year, on average, during the 24-year period after earning his Ph.D. (1999-2023). Out of the total of 55 publications, 43 were sole-author publications accounting for 78% of the total. His articles have been published in the journals of leading global academic publishers such as Brill (Netherlands), Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group, UK), Sage Publications (USA/India), Springer (Germany), and Universities such as the University of Hawaii (USA), University of Leiden (Netherlands)/University of Massachusetts (USA), and University of Warwick (UK). He has also been a peer reviewer of 36 articles (to date) submitted to journals published by leading international academic publishers such as Elsevier (Netherlands), Oxford University Press (UK), Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group, UK), Sage Publications (USA/India), and John Wiley (USA).    


A co-authored peer-reviewed research paper published in March 2023 elicited the following feedback from a distinguished veteran journalist in Sri Lanka, “…… I have come to expect high quality in your work. This paper is second to none. Your meticulous reliance on ground data to build your argument, alone, is brilliant deliberative methodology…………… As far as I know, there has been no cogently argued proposal for a bridge before this other than internal papers in the two respective Foreign Ministries. Since your paper is so exhaustive, I feel that your list of positive factors could have included a bit more mention of the potential for expansion of the main Lankan ports (Colombo, Galle, Trincomalee) and even lesser ports, which, if the FTA operates well, become ‘Indian subcontinental’ ports. I fully support the proposition. Happy to help advocate……”


A proposal to establish an independent non-partisan Budget Committee/Office in the Parliament of Sri Lanka was mooted in a Working Paper prepared for the Pathfinder Foundation way back in 2007 , which is expected to be realised in earnest in 2023


A proposal to introduce Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax at source was proposed in a journal article in 2012 which was first introduced with effect from April 01, 2018, rescinded with effect from January 01, 2020, and reintroduced with effect from January 01, 2023


Two journal articles published in 2017 (“Development outcomes of old and new sources of international development finance in Sri Lanka”) and 2016 (“Elusive economic peace dividend in Sri Lanka: all that glitters is not gold”) forewarned with evidence, albeit indirectly, about the sovereign bankruptcy of Sri Lanka that resulted in April 2022. The following op-ed published on January 24, 2023, traces our public intellectual contribution cautioning the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and other public authorities ever since 2007 about the risks involved in International Sovereign Bond (ISB) borrowings.


A policy research paper to resolve the enduring fishing disputes between Sri Lanka and India (2018) appears to have elicited a policy response by the Government of Sri Lanka in 2021, Central Government of India, and the State Government of Tamil Nadu in February 2019.


In June 2014, we foresaw the electoral defeat of President Rajapaksa due to the lack of economic peace dividend in the conflict-affected provinces and beyond, which was realised in January 2015 (that is, Rajapaksa lost the Presidential election held on January 08, 2015).


The results of our survey contested the causes of illegal boat migration (to Australia from Sri Lanka) attributed by an Australian refugee advocate in 2013 and the Australian Government toughened its policy on boat migration in the same year, which continues to date.


We exposed and argued the case against military enterprises in Northern Sri Lanka in 2010 and the military expenditure in the Northern Provincial economy was cut back to second place as a proportion of the Provincial GDP for the first time in decades in 2012.


We logically predicted, backed up by empirical evidence, the demise of the LTTE in 2006 and it happened in 2009, which was acknowledged seventeen years afterward by a stakeholder reader as follows:


March 12, 2023
Robert Boggs
“Congratulations for your data-based rebuttal to one of the many pro-LTTE propaganda pieces masquerading as research. I admire your commitment to clarifying the truth, and hope you do not suffer for doing so. Take care.
Robert Boggs (retired U.S. diplomat who served in Colombo in the early 1990s).”



We proposed a cap on the annual Government Budget deficit in Sri Lanka in 2001 & 2002 and the Fiscal (Management) Responsibility Act was enacted in 2003, though it was hardly adhered to by successive governments.

We logically argued, backed up by empirical evidence, the case for free trade between India and Sri Lanka in 1994 and the Governments of India and Sri Lanka inked a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (albeit partial) in 1998 that came into operation in 2000.


Muttukrishna Sarvananthan hails from Point Pedro and is a Development Economist by profession. He is the Founder and Principal Researcher of the Point Pedro Institute of Development (PPID), Point Pedro, Northern Province, Sri Lanka, which he founded in 2004. He is said to be the foremost authority on the Economies of the Eastern and Northern Provinces of Sri Lanka.  


He has worked as a Consultant to the Ministry of Finance and Planning (Sri Lanka), various private research institutions and international consultancy firms (e.g. Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations – ICRIER, Oxford Analytica (UK), and Rand Corporation USA), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), German International Cooperation (GIZ, formerly known as GTZ), International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP - both the country office and the Asia Pacific Regional Centre Colombo), and the World Bank (IBRD) in Sri Lanka undertaking field survey-based and desk-based applied empirical research studies on contemporary economic and social issues (civil conflict, conflict/dispute resolution, economic and social impact of COVID-19 in South Asia funded by the British Academy (particularly a comparative study of India and Sri Lanka), gender and development, international trade, labour market, local/regional economic development, macro-economy, new sources of international development finance, peace, poverty, research ethics and integrity, terrorism, etc.) confronting Sri Lanka and beyond, field evaluations of agriculture, small enterprise, governance, peace-building, and post-disaster projects in Sri Lanka, post-conflict/post-disaster needs assessments in Sri Lanka, and reviews of fiscal and monetary transparency in Sri Lanka. He was an intern at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. in 1996 as well.


He has undertaken collaborative survey-based qualitative research with the University of Edinburgh funded by the British Academy (2021-2023), University of Mannheim (2018) and University of Heidelberg (2009) in Germany, Rand Corporation in California (USA) (2017-2018), and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) in New Delhi (India) (2000-2002). For the past seven years (2017-2023), he is the Sri Lanka Country Collaborator for the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Programme of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden   


Muttukrishna Sarvananthan has been periodically consulted by diplomats at the Embassy or High Commission of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Norway, United Kingdom, and the United States of America in Sri Lanka, and visiting government officials from the foregoing countries to Sri Lanka, about the economic, political, and social situation in the Eastern and Northern Provinces of Sri Lanka. Expert opinion on the political and security ground situation in Sri Lanka has been intermittently sought by independent asylum/refugee arbitration services in Belgium, Canada, and France in the past decade. He used to be regularly interviewed by the Tamil service (Thamil Ozai) of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London (which is now based in New Delhi).  


Further, he was an academic tutor, supervisor, and guest lecturer on conflict resolution and security studies for the United Nations University for Peace (2005-2008) and the University of Bradford (2005/6) respectively in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, Muttukrishna Sarvananthan has been an external examiner of Ph.D. theses on Entrepreneurship in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka submitted to the University of New South Wales in Canberra in 2015 and on the Shadow Economy in Sri Lanka submitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi in 2006.


Besides, he was also a member of the international editorial board of the Contemporary South Asia journal published by Routledge from 2004 until December 31, 2016. Moreover, he has been a peer reviewer of 37 articles (as of August 2023) submitted to Contemporary South Asia (Routledge) (2015, 2014 (2), 2013, 2009, 2008 (2), 2007, 2006, 2004 (3), and 2003), Democracy and Security (Routledge) (2018), Disasters (John Wiley) (2007), Development in Practice (Routledge) (2016), International Feminist Journal of Politics (Routledge) (2019 and 2018), International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (Elsevier) (2021 and 2020), International Social Science Journal (John Wiley) (2022), International Studies Quarterly (Oxford University Press) (2020), Lancet Regional Health: Southeast Asia (Elsevier) (2022), Millennial Asia (SAGE) (2020), South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management (SAGE) (2023, 2021, and 2020 (2)), South Asian Survey (SAGE) (2021, 2020, and 2018), The International Journal of Transitional Justice (Oxford University Press) (2021), Third World Quarterly (Routledge) (2013), and World Development (Elsevier) (2023, 2021, 2017, and 2015) journals during 2003-2023.


Muttukrishna Sarvananthan was an Endeavour Research Fellow at the Global Terrorism Research Centre (GTReC) of the Monash University in Melbourne from September 2011 to February 2012, and a Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University in Washington, D.C. from October 2008 to July 2009. He was a participant in the International Visitor Leadership Program on ‘Tamil Diaspora – Post Conflict Reconciliation’ organized by the United States Department of State from August 06–24, 2012 in the United States of America.   


He has authored books titled Economy of the Conflict Region: from economic embargo to economic repression (2007&2008), People’s Verdict on Tsunami Recovery in Sri Lanka (2007), Children of War: Aspirations and Opportunities (2007) ( which was adjudged  the best research submission in 2008 by the Sri Lanka Economic Association), An Assessment of Contraband Trade and Capital between India and Sri Lanka (2001), Impact of Civil Conflict on Women in Traditional Tamil Society (co-author) (1995), and edited Economic Reforms in Sri Lanka: post-1977 period (2005).


Further, he has published peer-reviewed articles on COVID-19, Indo-Sri Lanka trade, poverty and income inequality, civil war and the economy, economic policies and strategies, gender and development, livelihoods, rights-based development, South Asian regional economic integration, and on terrorism and radicalisation in Conflict Trends (Durban) (2009), Contemporary South Asia (Routledge) (2011, 2008, 2004, 2002, and 1999), Development in Practice (Routledge) (2017), Economic and Political Weekly (India) (2023-forthcoming, 2013, 2005, 2003 (2), 2001, and 1994), Faultlines: Writings on Conflict and Resolution (New Delhi) (2004), GeoJournal (Springer) (2016), Global Change, Peace & Security (book review) (Routledge) (2021), Indian Journal of Regional Science (Kolkata) (2009 and 2004), Journal of Contemporary Asia (Routledge) (2001), Journal of Developing Societies (SAGE) (2017), Journal of South Asian Development (SAGE) (2022), Maritime Affairs (Routledge)  (2018), Perspectives on Terrorism (University of Leiden and University of Massachusetts-Lowell) (2018), South Asia Economic Journal (SAGE) (2004), South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management (SAGE) (2015), South Asian Survey (SAGE) (2012), Sri Lanka Economic Journal (1995), Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences (1999), Strategic Analysis (2023), The Journal of Law, Social Justice & Global Development (University of Warwick) (2020), and the Third World Quarterly (Routledge) (2007). (Research Impact Metrics h-index 12 i10-index 16 as of August 2023 His research note titled “Recovering from the Tsunami: People’s Experiences in Sri Lanka” in Contemporary South Asia, Vol.16 No.3, September 2008, was amongst the top twenty articles downloaded from the publisher’s own portal during 2008.


Muttukrishna Sarvananthan earned a Doctorate in Development Economics at the Centre for Development Studies, University of Wales, Swansea (now called Swansea University) in 1999, a Master of Science in Development Planning and Administration at the Department of Social Policy and Social Planning, University of Bristol in 1991, Master of Science (Economics) in Economic Development at the Department of Economics, University of Salford in 1989, and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics at the Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi in 1986. Besides, he successfully completed the Teaching Skills for Graduate Tutors course at the University of Wales, Swansea, in 1998. 











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