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Sinhala (also known as Sinhalese (older spelling: Singhalese) in English, also known locally as Helabasa, is the mother tongue of the Sinhalese people, who make up the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka, numbering about 15 million. Sinhala is also spoken, as a second language by other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, totalling about 3 million. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. Sinhala is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka, along with Tamil. Sinhala, along with Pali, played a major role in the development of Theravada Buddhist literature. Sinhala has its own writing system, the Sinhala alphabet, which is a member of the Brahmic family of scripts, and a descendant of the ancient Indian Brahmi script. The oldest Sinhala inscriptions found are from the 6th century BCE, on pottery; the oldest existing literary works date from the 9th century CE. The closest relative of Sinhala is the language of the Maldives and Minicoy Island (India), Dhivehi.
In 1977 the Free market economy was introduced to the country, incorporating privatisation, deregulation and the promotion of private enterprise and loans. While the production and export of tea, rubber, and other commodities remain important, industrialisation has increased the importance of food processing, textiles, telecommunications and finance. Main economic sectors of the country are tourism, tea export, clothing, rice production and other agricultural products. In addition to these economic sectors, overseas employment contributes highly in foreign exchange, most of them from the Middle East.
The per capita income of Sri Lanka has doubled since 2005. During the same period, poverty and unemployment has dropped, market capitalisation has quadrupled and budget deficit has doubled. 90% of the households in Sri Lanka are electrified. Income inequality has also dropped in recent years.
Sri Lanka is next only to Maldives in the South Asian region in terms of per capita income.
It is possible to get loans at various banks where no personal guarantors or down payments are required, e.g. for wedding loans or car loans. There are option of repaying the loan based on a reducing balance or an equal installment scheme and the flexibility to choose the repayment period of up to 5 years. Processing fee is typically low and there is the choice of both fixed and floating rate interest rate options.
Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia. Known until 1972 as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar, the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the Maldives. As a result of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia. It was an important stop on the ancient Silk Road. Sri Lanka has also been a center of the Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times, being the nation where the Buddhist teachings were first written down as well as the oldest continually Buddhist country. Sri Lanka boasts a diverse range of cultures, languages and religions. The Sinhalese people form the majority of the population; Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, form the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include Moors, Burghers, Kaffirs, Malays and the aboriginal Vedda people. Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state which is governed by a semi-presidential system with its official seat of government in Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, the capital. The country is famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, gemstones, coconuts, rubber and cinnamon, the last of which is native to the country. Sri Lanka has been called The Pearl of the Indian Ocean.