Basil Rajapaksa

From TobaccoUnmasked


Image 1:Basil Rajapaksa.[1]

Basil Rajapaksa, born in 1951, is a Sri Lankan politician. He had his secondary education at Isipathana and Ananda Colleges Colombo. Basil Rajapaksa has dual citizenships in Sri Lanka and in United States of America. He was a member of the Parliament from 2007 to 2015.[2].

Basil Rajapaksa comes from a family with a background in politics. His father, D. A. Rajapaksa, was a member of the Parliament.[3] As of 2019, three of his brothers, Chamal Rajapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa are active in Sri Lankan politics. Two of them, (Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa, are elected Presidents and the other (Chamal Rajapaksa), has served as the Speaker of the Parliament.[4][5]

Political positions held

  • Minister of Economic Development (2010-2015)[6]
  • Member of Parliament from the national list (2007 - 2010).[2]
  • Senior advisor to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa (2005 – 2010).[7]

Tobacco Related Activities

Participation in Events

Image 2: ITC Colombo ground breaking ceremony with the participation of Basil Rajapaksa (Minister for Economic Development), Y K Sinha (High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka), Y C Deveshwar (Chairman, ITC Limited), Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena (Minister for Investment Promotion), A.J.M. Muzammil (Mayor of Colombo), Ajith Nivard Cabraal (Governer, Central Bank of Sri Lanka) and Daya Ratnayake (Army Commander).[8]

Basil Rajapaksa (Minister for Economic Development) participated in the ground breaking ceremony for ITC One, the Colombo branch of the hospitality chain of Indian Tobacco Company (ITC).[9]

Influencing Tobacco Control Policies

On 20th February 2015, when the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Act amendment on Pictorial Health Warnings (PHWs) was presented for the approval of the parliament, then Minister of Health Rajitha Senarathna revealed that Basil Rajapaksa had opposed the Pictorial Health Warnings and had not allowed the proposal to be tabled as a cabinet paper.[10]

The aforementioned amendment to the NATA Act was necessary because Supreme Court ordered to reduce the size of the PHWs to 50% - 60% of the surface area of cigarette packs when Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) took legal action against the Gazette issued by Minister of Health to implement PHWs covering 80% of the surface area of cigarette packs. CTC is the British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary in Sri Lanka with a monopoly to manufacture and trade cigarettes in Sri Lanka]]. Please refer to our page Ceylon Tobacco Legally Challenging Pictorial Health Warnings in Cigarette Packs for more details.

Obtaining Sponsorship for Construction of Agro-wells

In 2014, during his tenure as the Cabinet Minister of Economic Development, the relevant Ministry partnered with Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) to construct 100 agro-wells under SADP Agro-wells programme. The project was conducted in Weli-Oya, an agricultural area in the dry zone in Sri Lanka, with the support of the Weli-Oya District Secretary [11][12][13]

SADP Agro-wells, launched in 2014, is a variant of the Sustainable Agriculture Development Programme (SADP), the main Corporate Social Investment (CSI) project of the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC), the British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary holding monopoly of cigarette manufacturing and sales in Sri Lanka. Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) cultivates the tobacco needed for their manufacturing process domestically and is known to use various tactics to engage farmers to initiate and sustain tobacco cultivation in Sri Lanka. The CTC Annual Report 2015 (Page 93) mentioned “Construction of 100 agro wells” as one of their CSI projects (Image 3). The CTC Annual Report 2016 (Page 111) categorised the progamme under SADP Agro-wells[14][15]

Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the World Health Organization global convention on tobacco control, Articles 13 and 5.3 recommend to ban sponsorship, CSI activities and interactions of government officials and agencies with the tobacco industry.

Image 1: Excerpt of the image of the CTC Annual Report 2014 reporting “Construction of 100 agro-wells”.[13]

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:



  1. M Aravinda. Basil Rajapaksa Turning the wheel of change, Business Today, October 2009, accessed December 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 Basil Rajapaksa 2013-2015, accessed January 2019
  3. The Famous People. Mahinda Rajapaksa Biography, undated, accessed March 2019
  4. Facebook. Basil Rajapaksa, undated, accessed November 2019
  5. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Biography, undated, accessed November 2019
  6. Business Today Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa visits Central Bank of Sri Lanka undated, accessed January 2019
  7. U Amarasinghe, T Kahandawaarachchi. Basil Rajapaksa Turning the wheel of change, Business Today, October 2009, accessed December 2019
  8. Department of Government Information. Ground Breaking Ceremony of ITC Colombo One,, 21 November 2014, accessed May 2018
  9. ITC. Ground Breaking Ceremony of ITC Colombo One , 19 November 2014, accessed January 2019
  10. Parliament of Sri Lanka Hanzard: Parilament of Sri Lanka 20 February 2015, accessed January 2019
  11. Daily FT. CTC and Ministry of Economic Development to construct 100 agro-wells, 08 October 2014, accessed July 2020
  12. Sunday Observer. CTC to build 100 agro-wells, 05 October 2014, accessed July 2020
  13. 13.0 13.1 Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2014, 2015, accessed July 2020
  14. Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2015, 2016, accessed July 2020
  15. Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2016, 2017, accessed July 2020