- 01.Purchase of 2014/2015 Maha Season Paddy
The Hon.Minister of Food Security Gamini Jayawickrema Perera informed the Cabinet of Ministers that the Ministry of Food Security from 19th February 2015 up to now has purchased 148,973 metric tons of paddy by the Paddy Marketing Board and through the Cooperative Societies, directly from the farmers and through Farmers’ Societies. The Minister informed that the Treasury has released a sum of Rs. 7,200 Million for this purpose and this is the highest ever quantity of paddy purchased through the mediation of the government since the year 2007.
- 02.Appointment of an Advisory Board for the Department of Agriculture
The Department of Agriculture is the main institution under the Ministry of Agriculture which carries out a large proportion of work related to agricultural activities in the country. The main objectives of this institution include increasing the income status of the farmers by enhancing the production and productivity of crops and provision of high quality agricultural products to the consumers without any shortage. In order to get necessary advice to get these objectives properly fulfilled, it has been proposed to appoint an advisory committee comprising officials and persons from the sectors and institutions dealing with agriculture under the title “Advisory Committee of the Department of Agriculture”. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Agriculture Duminda Dissanayake for the appointment of this Committee.
- 03.Purchase of the harvest of the traditional indigenous Paddy Production
It has been found that there is an increasing trend within the country of people facing deaths annually due to suffering from non-communicable diseases and on the spread of non-communicable diseases. It has been proved through local and overseas scientific researches that undertaking agricultural activities on modern methods based on using chemical fertilizer and distancing away from traditional food products and food patterns are the reasons for the spread of non-communicable diseases.
As a solution to this problem and in order to encourage farmers to enter into the traditional indigenous cultivation methods and inspire them to undertake cultivation of traditional crops, the Hon. Minister of Agriculture Duminda Dissanayake informed the Cabinet of Ministers that steps will be taken to purchase 2.5 million kilograms of traditional paddy cultivation at Rs. 80/- per kilogram and to sell from this quantity a certain part as seed paddy at Rs. 90/- per kilogram with a maximum quantity of 25 kilograms and to give priority in selling this seed paddy quantity to the farmers in the areas where the renal disease is prevailing heavily. The Cabinet of Ministers took into consideration about the information provided by the Hon. Minister of Agriculture.
- 04.Agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Russian Republic for providimg mutual legal cooperation in respect of criminal activities
Legal cooperation on international matters to prevent crimes that are taking place on international level is very essential. Act No. 25 of 2002 have provided provision for Sri Lanka to extend cooperation and to obtain cooperation from foreign countries related to crimes that are committed on international levels. Accordingly the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapaksha to enter into an agreement with Russian Republic empowering the Laws existing in both countries to facilitate conducting of investigations, to file legal action, and to confiscate moneys earned by indulging in illegal activities in foreign countries.
- 05.Declaration of forest conservations, natural reserves, sanctuary and national gardens in the Northern Province
With the participation of about 25 state institutions a joint strategic environmental evaluation has been carried out for development purposes and environmental protection, with the advent of peace after ending the war that prevailed for over thirty years. The leadership for this survey was given by the Central Environment Authority and the Disaster Management Centre.
The necessary funding resources and emergency facilities for this survey was provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). Under this programme the Forest Conservation Department has identified areas that need to be developed as areas to minimize human element clashes, conservation of wet lands, protection for migratory birds, biodiversity, and for areas to be developed as areas for environmental tourism. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Tourism and Sport Navin Dissanayake to declare identified new access routes, to upgrade the standards of the prevailing conservation areas, to revise the borders of the sanctuaries, to prepare to sign an agreement with the Russian Republic and to empower the provisions relating to the agreement. .
- 06.Revision of Act No. 52 of 1971 to fulfill the implementation of conventions of the International Maritime Organization
The member countries of the United Nations have to fulfill the conventions of the International Maritime Organization which is the body entrusted by the United Nations to regulate all maritime activities of the member countries. The International Maritime Organization has declared conventions which are compulsory. Accordingly it is essential to revise the Act No. 52 of 1971 and rules and regulations related to fulfill the conventions of the International Maritime Organization. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Ports and Aviation Arjuna Ranatunge to revise the Act No. 52 of 1971 and become eligible for the signing of the conventions of the International Maritime Organization.
- 07.North Central Province Canal Development Project Implementation of Stage 1 Construction Work
The Mahaweli Development Project was started in the year 1970 and the government has given a higher priority to complete the investment process related to distribution of water under this project. At present distribution of water for the areas of North, North Central and the Easter provinces are to be implemented. Already the Cabinet of Ministers has given approval for the implementation of the project related to the Northern Province.
The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the President Maithripala Sirisena in the capacity of the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment to enter into an agreement with the Asian Development Bank to implement the Stage 1 Construction Work of the North Central Province Canal Development Project and to implement further activities related to this project.
08. Draft Bill related to Right to Information
Draft Bill related to Right to Information was approved at the last cabinet meeting. Upon this approval various organizations and institutions have sent revisions to be incorporated in the Bill. Instead of presenting these proposed revisions by the parliamentary select committee the final draft bill with the incorporation of these revisions was presented for the consideration of the cabinet of Ministers by the Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. The Cabinet of Ministers also approved the proposal made by the Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe not to present the Right to Information Bill and the National Audit Bill to the parliament as emergency bills and to follow the normal procedure of getting draft bills passed in the parliament in respect of these two bills.
09. Increasing the salaries of private sector employees
The proposal made by S.B. Navinna, Minister of Labour, to draft legislations for the above task considering the need of enacting a law similar to the method adopted in Budgetary Relief Act No 36 of 2005, with the view of providing an immediate solution to the salary issues of the private sector, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. Provisions required to implement the following proposals are proposed to be included in the said bill.
v The minimum monthly salary of an employee of the private sector will be increased to Rs. 10,000/- and accordingly the minimum daily payment would be Rs. 400/-.
v It will be enacted as the basic salary with effect from 01st May 2015.
v As the first step of increasing the salary of private sector employees from Rs. 2,500/- the existing salary will be increased from Rs. 1,500 with effect from 01.05.2015, and accordingly the payment of daily paid workers will be increased from Rs. 60/-.
v The second step of the salary increase will be effective from 01.01.2016 and the salary paid on 31.12.2015 would be increased by further Rs. 1,000/-, and accordingly the payment of daily paid workers will be increased from Rs. 40/-.
10. ‘World Expo – 2015 Global Exhibition
The above exhibition is held in capitals of selected countries once in two years and the next exhibition is scheduled to be held in Milano, Italy for six (06) months from 01st May 2015 to 31st October 2015. Sri Lanka has also planned to participate in this event with the objective of showcasing the pride of Sri Lanka, strengthening the ties with western countries and promoting brands of Sri Lanka. Above information presented by Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, was considered by the Cabinet of Ministers.
11. Implementation of the Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project
The proposal made by Rauff Hakeem, Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage, to implement the above project funded by World Bank loan assistance and funds of the government of Sri Lanka, with the view of resolving drinking water issues and improving the sanitation of people living in Mulativu, Kilinochchi, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Monaragala, Kegalle and Ratnapura Districts and strengthening tasks of the Department of National Community Water Supply, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
12. Proposed Amendment to the Constitution on Electoral Reforms
As decided at the Meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on 22-04-2015, after the discussions held with the relevant parties the President has presented a draft amendment to the constitution on electoral reforms to the attention of the Cabinet of Ministers, and the ministers were requested to submit their comments in this regard at the next meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.