November 21, 2018

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    Decisions taken at the Cabinet Meeting held on 22nd April, 2015

    April 23, 2015

    01. Sri Lanka to commence bilateral, political consultancy services with Philippines and Cambodia


    Sri Lanka is maintaining long time bilateral relations with the Republic of Philippines and the Kingdom of Cambodia and it is possible to obtain mutual benefits with the objective of expanding these relationships to a new sphere. At the same time Philippines and Cambodia are two countries that cooperate with Sri Lanka in multilateral forums. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera to sign Memoranda of Understanding by the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on providing advisory service with the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Philippines and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

    02. Galu Samaya – 2015


    The Galle Pageant and Fiesta 2008 and 2009 were held on a grand scale centering the city of Galle with special programmes on southern Sri Lanka, especially about the Galle District’s proudness and beauty to bring awareness among the world with the objective of getting tourist attraction. These programmes included exhibitions relating to agriculture, trade and industries.

     

    The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Plantation Industry Lakshman Kiriella to implement these activities. Accordingly, the Hon. Minister of Public Administration, Provincial Councils and Democratic Administration Karu Jayasuriya intimated to the Cabinet of Ministers that arrangements have been made to hold the Galle Pageant and Fiesta 2015 this year with the cooperation of the Galle Municipal Council and the Southern Provincial Council centering the city of Galle on December 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31st.


    03. Revision of Act. No. 19 of Buddhist Vihara and Devalagam Ordinance Act

     

    It has been pledged that under the 100 days programme Buddhist Vihara and Devalagam Ordnance Act will be revised under the advice, anusasana and guidance of the Mahanayake Theros. Accordingly the Hon. Minister of Buddha Sasana Karu Jayasuriya has presented the revised Buddhist Vihara and Devalagam Ordinance Act to the Cabinet. Subsequent to discussing about it, the approval of the proposed revised act was postponed for obtaining views and suggestions from Ministers who are interested on the subject.


    04. The Bibile Sugar Development Project to be implemented in the Badulla and Ampara Districts


    It has been planned to implement a project under the name of the Bibile Sugar Development project with the participation of farmers in the areas of the Regional Secretaries Division of Rideemaliyadda of the Badulla district and the Regional Secretaries Divisions of Padiyatalawa and Maha Oya of the Ampara District mainly covering the cultivation of sugar cane for the production of sugar and cultivation of mixed crops along with that, livestock development, cultivation of gliricidia and production of recycled energy with the use of discarded stems of these plants. Under this project, each farmer in the area will be provided a block of land to the extent of 2.5 hectares thereby ensuring a sustainable source of income. It is expected that by this measure each farmer family in the area could earn a monthly income of Rs. 60,000/= to Rs. 80,000/=. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Plantation Industry Lakshman Kiriella in this connection to implement this project.


    05. The National Policy for Accidents and Emergency Treatment Services


    Sri Lanka has health related indices that can be compared with the health relating indices of countries in the developed world. However, Accidents and Emergency Treatment services need to be developed further. Since there had been an increasing trend recently on accidents and emergency treatment, the need of providing expeditious emergency treatment has increased. The proposal in this connection has included the provision of expeditious and quality emergency treatment services that would protect the safety and the dignity of the victims and with this objective it has been included in the policy to improve the existing emergency treatment services facilities and establish new units wherever it is necessary to prevent the victims becoming disabled or dead and to provide without delay a streamlined emergency treatment service. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the National Policy for Accidents and Emergency Treatment Services of Sri Lanka presented by the Hon. Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne.


    06. Registration of a Company for implementation of the activities of the International Arbitration Centre


    Attention has been focused on developing Sri Lanka as a regional hub of providing servicers related to Law and Order taking into consideration the professional capabilities in the legal sphere of Sri Lanka. As a step towards this end with the objective of establishing an unbiased, efficient and trustworthy mechanism within the Asian region to fulfill the needs of international business community, an international arbitration centre has been established in Sri Lanka.

    The activities of this centre are expected to be commenced from the month of May. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapaksha to start a government company to carry out the activities of this centre efficiently and successfully.

    07. Agreement for handing over of persons who have been meted out punishments to the government of Sri Lanka and the Russian Republic


    The Act No. 5 of 1995 has provided provision for a person of a foreign country who has been convicted by a court of Sri Lanka and subjected to a prison term to undergo his punishment in the country in which he holds his citizenship. The Act has also provided provision for a Sri Lankan national who has been convicted for a prison term in a foreign country to hand over to Sri Lanka to undergo the remaining period of prison term in Sri Lanka. These terms will become effective when Sri Lanka has entered into an agreement with the relevant country in this connection. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapaksha to sign an agreement with the Russian Republic to handover to each other persons who have been convicted for prison terms.

     

    08.Purchase of textiles for uniforms for Dhamma School Teachers for the year 2015

     

    Since the year 2004, the government is implementing a programme of providing uniforms to voluntary teachers who teach in Dhamma Schools. In this connection the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Public Admnistration, Provincial Councils and Democratic Administration Karu Jayasuriya to purchase 30,000 jacket material and handloom sarees (uniforms) to be provided to Dhamma School teachers in the year 2015. These uniforms will be purchased at Rs. 1,400/= each for a total sum of Rs. 42 million from the state institution, the Department of Textiles.


    09.The project to provide high powered injections, surgical equipment and provision of relevant infrastructure facilities to the renal diseased patients of Sri Lanka

     

    The government has identified the prime importance of establishing within the main cancer treatment in Sri Lanka the high powered surgical equipment facilities due to the rapidly increasing number of cancer patients in the country. Accordingly, under the first stage of this project, it has been planned to purchase between 2015 and 2017 with the utilization of funds from the World Bank and from the government of Sri Lanka surgical equipment such as Linear Accelerator machines, Brackie Therapy machines and CT Simulator machines for the Maharagama National Cancer Institute, Kandy General Hospital, Jaffna Teaching Hospital, Karapitiya Teaching Hospital and Batticaloa Teaching Hospital. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal presented by the Hon. Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Dr.Rajitha Senaratne in this connection.

    10. Draft Bill on Right to information

     

    It has been pledged that under the 100 days programme of the government the Draft Bill on Right to Information will be presented to the Parliament. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal presented by the Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe to present the said Draft Bill to the parliament as an emergency bill under clause 122 of the Constitution.

     

    Given below are the significant points of the said Bill:

    • All citizens of Sri Lanka will have the right to information

    • The right to information means to obtain information that exist in state institutions, and information that exist under its control or its custody. However, provision of information could be rejected in the undermentioned instances:

    1. Information that could affect the privacy of a person due to divulgence of information since it has no connection with a public activity or it is of a private nature

    2. Information that could seriously affect state security, territorial integrity, that could affect national security, or that could affect international relationships of Sri Lanka, or that could harm the bonds that exist under international law

    3. Information that could seriously harm the economy of Sri Lanka

    4. Information that could harm the commercial bonds of a person or that could divulge some trade secret

    5. Information that could divulge the medical status of a person

    6. Information that are not permitted to be divulged under clause 126 of the Evidence Act

    7. Information that needs to be kept secret due to fiduciary relationship

    8. Information relating to prevention of some crime or connected with finding out of some crime or information that could apprehend some criminals or filing cases against them or that could obstruct such activity

    9. Information that has been determined as to be safeguarded by a state institution

    10. Information that could become a contempt of court or breach of parliamentary privileges

    11. Information connected with the examination department or higher educational institutions that are to be kept secret due to its links with examinations.

    A commission in this regard will be established in order to facilitate the right to information. The commission will mediate to determine on the information that needs to be kept secret.


    In order to implement these regulations successfully, the subject has been entrusted to the Minister in charge of Public Administration.


    12. National Audit Bill


    It has been pledged under the 100 days programme of the government that the National Audit Bill will be presented to the Parliament. Accordingly, The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal presented by the Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe to present the said Draft Bill to the parliament as an emergency bill under clause 122 of the Constitution.


    The bill provides the right to anyone to focus attention to the Auditor General on any matter. The Auditor General could investigate such matters and submit a report to the Parliament.  When there are no auditing standards specified in Sri Lanka for performance audits, technical audits etc, the international standards of the supreme audit institution shall apply. An audit officer has the right not to disclose any information.


    The Auditor General shall annually submit a report to Parliament on the results of the audits carried out by him during that year. An audit service commission will be established and members will be appointed by the President.
    The Auditor General’s Department shall cease to be in operation once the proposed Act comes into operation.


    13. Planning Greater Colombo area and Western Regional Development

     

    The Western Region and the City of Colombo are emerging as one of the fast growing regions in South Asia as well as the driving force of economic growth in the country. Having a sound city development strategy is crucial for sustainable development. It is proposed to upgrade Colombo’s position to become South Asia’s most prominent township and regional finance and business hub in the near future. A new master plan which may take six months to one year to prepare by the Board of Investment. The Master Plan can be easily updated and delivered within an estimated period of 4 months. Therefore it is proposed to update the Western Region Megapolis Plan (WRMP) of 2004 to expedite the planning process. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal presented by the Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe in this connection.


    14. Extension of the agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

     

    Since 1956, programmes related to the fields of Health, Education and Industrial Training, Agriculture and Livelihood Development, Environment and Natural Resources Management, Local Government, and Humanitarian Aids are being implemented in Sri Lanka with the assistance of the United States of America. The USAID cooperates with Sri Lanka in
    promoting major developmental priorities such as good governance, economic development, and humanitarian assistance. The proposal made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth, and Cultural Affairs, to extend the duration of proceeding programmes in order to gain their maximum benefits, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.


    14. National Electricity Transmission and distribution network development and efficiency enhancing project

     

    The electricity requirement of the country has increased in a general growth of 5% to 7% within the last decade and will continue with the economic growth of the country. Therefore  it is necessary to strengthen the power transmission and distribution network, minimizing the  wastage in transmission in order to provide a continuous power supply in a good quality to  the overall public of the country. Accordingly, the above project is expected to be implemented and the government of Japan has agreed to provide a loan of Japanese Yen 24,930 million (approximately Rs. 26,873 million) through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The proposal made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe,
    in his capacity as the Minister of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth, and Cultural Affairs, to sign the respective exchange notes with the government of Japan and to enter into a loan agreement between the government of Sri Lanka and JICA on this purpose, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.


    15. Implementation of the Mahaweli Water Security Investment Programme

     

    The main objective of this programme is the effective consumption of water of the Mahaweli scheme, providing them to irrigation, drinking water requirements and commercial affairs of the North-western, North Central and Northern Provinces. Under this project infrastructure of advanced water supply and storage will be improved which would cause the improvement of productivity of agricultural lands in the area and minimizing the risk of chronic kidney disease prevailed in the area by providing safe drinking water.

     

    Three investment projects i.e., the Upper Elahera Canal Project, North-western Province Canal Project, and Minipe Left Bank Canal Rehabilitation Project, will be implemented under the above investment programme. The proposal made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe in his capacity as the Minister of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth, and Cultural Affairs, to enter into loan agreements with the Asian Development Bank for financing the first phase of this programme, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.


    16. Outer Circular Highway Project (Phase III) -Commencing work of the phase III of the Outer Circular Highway Project from Kerawalapitiya to Kadawatha (9.32 km)

     

    The phase III of the outer circular highway project from Kerawalapitiya to Kadawatha has a length of 9.32 km. Cost of the approved civil works contract of this phase amounts to Rs. 66,689 million and 95% of the said cost will be gained by an EXIM loan from China. The acquisition of land for the above project is in its final stage and compensation of Rs. 1,100 million is to be paid in this regard. The proposal made by Kabir Hashim, the Minister of Highways and Investment Promotions, to commence the above project under the scope of work which was amended according to the recommendations made by the Review Committee appointed for the evaluation of technical and financial matters of this project, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

     

    17. Proposed Amendment to the Constitution for electoral reforms

     

    The President has presented a draft proposal to the Cabinet of Ministers, to introduce a mixed electoral system by abolishing the existing proportional system. The new system includes provisions to elect a Parliamentarian directly to each electorate and a proportion of Councillors to be elected through a proportional system based on the amount of votes obtained by each party. The Cabinet of Ministers has decided to present an amendment to the constitution for electoral reforms depending on the above draft and ideas of all parties.

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