This work presents a systematic historical and analytical understanding of Sri Lanka’s social development. Instead of merely focusing on economic yardsticks, it studies the country’s development in the conceptual framework of social policy, with an emphasis on the way current institutions reflect the impact of previous political conflicts and struggles. The book critiques the country’s social policy from the perspectives of the Western theories of welfare state and development studies. It also provides valuable insights into the issues of modernization and democratization in colonial settings by analyzing the distinctive nature of the Sri Lankan colonial experience. The book also looks at the future prospects of development in Sri Lanka in view of the unfolding of the complex social and political milieu following the end of the twenty-five-year-old civil war in the country.