02 Establishment of a joint committee for consular activities between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates
Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates were officially established with effect from the year 1979 onwards. In the recent times these relationships have widened in addition to trade and investment sectors to other sectors such as employment of Sri Lankan personnel, cultural and educational as well. At present about 250,000 Sri Lankans are employed in various job categories in the United Arab Emirates and under these circumstances Sri Lanka expects to increase the employment of skilled employment category and to increase the partnership relationship with the United Arab Emirates. Both parties agreed in the meeting held between Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on 26th and 27th January 2014 at the first session of the Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates joint session to establish a joint committee of consular services to provide consular protection to Sri Lankan employees and other assistance.
Objective of this committee is to strengthen and develop the bilateral cooperation in consular field. The proposal made by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to take necessary action for the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries for the establishment and implementation of the joint committee, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
03 Vehicles belonging to Ministries, Departments and Government Institutions
The Cabinet of Ministers took into notice the details of Vehicles belonging to Ministries, Departments and Government Institutions presented to the Cabinet of Ministers by the Hon. Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake.
Accordingly, the number of registered vehicles belonging to Ministries, Departments and Government Institutions numbers to 59,160 and a considerable number of these vehicles are still being used by the Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentarians and those who function in various positions of the former government but not functioning in such positions at present. This matter was also taken into consideration by the Cabinet of Ministers. The Cabinet of Ministers hence decided to instruct the Secretaries to the Ministries to take necessary steps to re-acquire these vehicles being used by persons who do not hold official positions, without further delay.
04 The programme of renovating 25,000 housing units in connection with the commemoration of 2015 World Habitat Day
The United Nations Organization has declared the first Monday of October each year as the World Habitat Day. Accordingly the World Habitat Day this year falls on Monday 5th October and it will be held under the theme “Public Spaces for All”.
The Ministry of Housing and Construction has observed that in the process of constructing houses in various parts of the country, there are houses of which only the preliminary construction activities have been carried out without finishing cementing of the walls, there are many families living in such houses for a considerable time. It has been observed that the economic value of these houses are getting minimized, the strength of these houses are getting affected due to the effects of natural agents such as sun, rain and air and the child and elderly residents of these houses are getting affected with respiratory and other diseases, and face various health problems.
Therefore, in conjunction with the commemoration of the World Habitat Day, the Ministry of Housing and Construction, and its affiliated Departments and Institutions, other relevant State Institutions and other organizations has n planned to cement the walls of 25,000 houses during the Habitat Week to be declared from 5th to 12th of October. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa to grant an allocation of Rs. 250 million in order to grant a maximum of Rs. 10,000 under the programme to be implemented by the Ministry in respect of the World Habitat Day, only to cement the walls of 25,000 houses covering 1,000 houses each selected from the 25 districts.
05. The expeditious 50,000 Housing Development programme to be implemented by the National Housing Development Authority
The 50,000 houses development programme “Shelter for All” launched under the 100 days programme is being implemented successfully with the community participation mechanism. At present, construction work of 35,290 is being carried out. The total estimated expenditure for the total programme is Rs. 5,000 Million. At present Rs. 1,328.45 million from this amount has been spent. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa to obtain the additional funds required for the completion of this project.
06. Rs. 20,000.00 Nutritional food package for pregnant mothers
The above programme which has commenced under the 100 day programme of the government is being implemented and continued successfully. Considering the proposal made by Hon. Chandrani Bandara, Minister of Women and Child Affairs, to release, in full, a further allocation of Rs. 1500 Mn, as required, in addition to the Rs. 1500Mn allocated for year 2015, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
07. Appointment of Cabinet Committee on Economic Management and the Sub Committee on Cost of Living
The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the appointment of Cabinet Committee on Economic Management, presided by Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and comprised of relevant ministers in view of making recommendations on the overall economic development of the country and the appointment of the Sub Committee on Cost of Living, presided by Hon. Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Development, Strategic and International Trade comprising relevant ministers in view of making recommendations on matters affecting the cost of living of people.
08. 68th Independence Day Celebrations
The proposal made by Hon. Wajira Abeywardana, Minister of Home Affairs, to appoint a Cabinet Sub Committee presided by the Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe with the participation of relevant ministers for making policy decisions and providing guidance on conducting the 68th Independence Day celebrations falling on 04th February 2016, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
09. Obtaining the approval of parliament for the gazette notifications published
The proposal made by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance, to submit gazette notifications for the approval of the parliament, which were issued based on the decisions taken time to time by the government with respect to revisions of various taxes required for the welfare of the people or collection of revenue for that purpose, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
10. Prevention of Child Abuse
The proposal made by Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, to appoint a committee comprising of following members to propose suitable measures for the prevention of escalating child abuses, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
Hon. Thilak Marapana, Minister of Law and Order and Prison Reforms (Chairman)
Hon. Wijayadasa Rajapaksa, Minister of Justice
Hon. (Mrs.) Chandrani Bandara, Minister of Women and Child Affairs
Hon. Maheswaran Wijayakala, State Minister of Child Affairs
Hon. (Mrs.) Sudarshini Fernandopulle, State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply
11. Improvement of infrastructure related to information technology and communication in the public sector
The Sri Lankan government has taken many progressive steps by introducing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to the public sector. Such initiatives have contributed towards bringing in awareness and increased usage of ICT equipment and solutions in government organizations. However, it is notable that most ministries and government organizations are finding their internet links to be extremely slow, thus making it impossible to collaborate with other government organizations for document sharing and approval process. Having a decent connectivity for sending emails is a complicated process for many government officials as network connectivity is not stable.
One of the key constraints attributed by all government organizations as a major deterrent towards implementing such ICT solutions is the unavailability of a proper government computing infrastructure facilitating hosting services for IT systems, connectivity and secure data communications across government. However, a large portion from the government’s budget is expended for maintaining such IT links. One of the primary objectives of the Ministry of Finance is to establish a mechanism to enable efficient use of government funds. It also applies to the implementation of IT solutions. Providing appropriate computer infrastructure to government institutions is extremely important in this regard. Accordingly the proposal made by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, the Minister of Finance, for design and implementation of digital infrastructure for high-speed internet connections and secure communications to establish an efficient collaboration between government institutions by improving the current Lanka Government Network (LGN) through the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the apex public institution in this field, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
12. Use of information technology in effective implementation of social security and welfare programmes
The government annually allocates a considerable amount of funds for the social welfare, safety net programmes and pensions. These programmes are designed to protect citizens from economic risks and insecurities of life. The most common types of programmes provide benefits to the elderly or retired, the sick or invalid, dependent survivors, mothers, the unemployed, work-injured, school children and families. The proposal made by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, the Minister of Finance, to use IT for management and supervision of above programmes under a centralized unit which enables to affirm their expected goals are achieved, to effectively manage the given subsidies, and to affirm that the subsidies are being received by beneficiaries, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
13. Inviting proposals for the construction of houses for families affected by the conflict
The Ministry of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Affairs is mandated with the responsibility of resettlement of families and construction of houses for the conflict affected people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces on a priority basis. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has also strongly emphasized on the need to fulfil the shelter requirements in the conflict affected areas. It has been identified that the total housing requirement is 137,529 houses which is over and above the 44,000 Indian governments supported on-going housing programme. The proposal made by Hon. D.M. Swaminathan, Minister of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Affairs, to invite proposals from interested local and foreign parties, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.