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Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath had an inspection of Vakarai farmland and took part in the harvesting of green cucumbers.

 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held discussions with the Deputy Ambassador of China in Sri Lanka, Hu Wei, yesterday morning (21).

During the discussions, the Prime Minister reiterated Sri Lanka’s adherence to the ‘One China Policy'. He also stated that Sri Lanka was looking forward to discussing the debt restructuring with China.

The Chinese Deputy Ambassador inquired about Sri Lanka’s food security programs and reassured the Prime Minister that China would be donating rice to Sri Lanka to help ease the food crisis.

 

Poson Poya Day Message.

Poson Poya Day is a traditional day celebrated by Sri Lankan Buddhists as the inaugural day of the Sri Lankan national culture.

The national culture of the country began to be nurtured through the interpretation of Buddhism with the arrival of Arahant Mahinda on the day of Poson Poya.

I would like to add my best wishes on the occasion of this sacred day.

In particular, Poson Poya Day is the day when the Sri Lankan state was blended together with the essence of Dhamma politics as well as the spiritual well-being of the Sri Lankan people.

That is why the Maha Sangha, the people and the state government celebrate Poson Poya Day as a Poya Day which is revered by the Buddhist people of this country.

As Poson Poya Day 2022 dawns, it should be recalled that I, as the then Prime Minister, was able to make Poson Poya Day a national state event.

We consider Poson Poya Day as a Spiritually Symbolic Day for Sri Lanka.

With the arrival of Arahant Mahinda on the day of Poson Poya, the Dhamma dialogue and the political socio-cultural dialogue began. This led to a self-sufficient economy.

Even at this moment, the path of Dhamma endorsed by Arahant Mahinda is like a road map for a society that is looking to alleviate the political and socio-economic turmoil that has taken hold of the Sri Lankan state.

The advice given by Arahant Mahinda to shape the governance of Sri Lanka by adopting the Chulla Hasthi Padopama Sutta, setting aside differences and ideological inequalities while producing food on local soil, should be taken as our model at this moment.

At the same time, with the Poson Poya Day in mind, we must all unite in determination to transform the State of Sri Lanka back into a calm and prosperous society following the preconceived Dhamma message.

This path is the way to preserve the Poson culture inherited from Arahant Mahinda.

Ranil Wickremesinghe
Prime Minister,
Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka

 

 

Minister of Mass Media Bandula Gunawardena appointed new Chairpersons and Directors to State Media institutions. The appointments were made today (13).

Asanka Priyanath Jayasuriya has been appointed as Chairman of the Rupavahini Corporation, while Ganaka Amarasinghe was appointed as Chairman of the Independent Television Network (ITN), and Hudson Samarasinghe as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

Further, Prof. Chaminda Ratnayake, Prof. D.M. Ajith Dissanayake, and Rakhitha Abeygunawardena have been appointed as Directors of the Rupavahini Corporation, while Lalith Piyum Perera, Maheshwari Mahimadas, Ravindra Guruge, Indika Liyanahewage, and Hasantha Hettiarachchi have been appointed as Directors of ITN.  In addition, Ven. Magammana Pagnananda Thera, Priyantha K. Ratnayake, J. Yogaraj, and M. Sisira Kumara have been appointed as Directors of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

 

Steps to send the relevant reports to the Members of Parliament by e-mail.
Soft copies are to be uploaded to a specific web portal on the Parliament website.
Considering the need for several hard copies of the reports, steps will be taken to make
them available to the Committees for reference and kept in the library.


Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana, the Speaker, announced in Parliament today that it was decided at the recent meeting of the Committee on Parliamentary Business to publish the annual reports, performance reports and other relevant reports as e-versions.

The Speaker said that the decision was taken as a measure to address the contemporary economic crisis in the country and to minimize possible environmental concerns. The Speaker also appreciated the support of all Members of Parliament in this regard.

Accordingly, it has been decided to appoint an officer to deal with the matter and to send soft copies to the Hon. Members of Parliament of those reports which are to be tabled on the relevant dates through an e-mail.

It was also decided to include soft copies of daily tabled reports in a specialized web portal on the Parliamentary website so that they can be accessed on laptops/desktops, tablets or mobile phones. The Speaker further stated that steps will be taken to make several hard copies of these reports available to the Committees for reference purposes which will be kept in the library.

Accordingly, it was decided at the Committee on Parliamentary Business meeting held recently to inform the Secretaries of all the Ministries in this regard and expedite the implementation of this program, the Speaker further stated.
The focus of the Committee was directed towards the current environmental difficulties in procuring printing materials, as well as the difficulty of finding imported CDs in the market and the high cost it involves, as well as the adverse environmental impact of CD recycling on the environment when making the decision, the Speaker said.

The Speaker further stated that the Committee has taken this decision considering the timeliness of the creation of a sustainable e-public service through the digitization of the public service as all the Hon. Members of Parliament are currently using technological tools.

 

 

Decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on the 06.06.2022

1. Amendment of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Act No. 6 of 1982


Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted at their meeting held on 04.01.2021 to
amend the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Act No. 6 of 1982 including provisions to
enable appointment of a representative from the Treasury and the Secretary of the subject
Ministry or a representative at him to the Board of Directors of Sri Lanka Rupavahini
Corporation. Accordingly, clearance of the Attorney – General has been granted for the
draft bill formulated by the Legal Draftsman. Therefore, the approval of the Cabinet of
Ministers is given to the proposal submitted by the Minister of Mass Media for
publishing the relevant draft bill in the gazette and submit it to the Parliament
subsequently in order to obtain approval.


2. Amendment of Rubber Control Act No. 11 of 1956 and Rubber Replanting Subsidy
Act No. 36 of 1953


Instructions have been given to amend legal provisions required for winding – up the
statutory funds which are in the inactive status as per the provision 423 of the Public
Finance circular. Accordingly, measures have been taken to liquidate both Rubber
Control Fund effective under the Rubber Control Act No. 11 of 1956 and the Rubber
Replanting Subsidy Fund established under the Rubber Replanting Subsidy Act No. 36 of
1953. The said two acts have to be amended since there is no further requirement of
existing provisions in those acts in regard to the aforementioned funds. Accordingly, the
Cabinet of Ministers granted consent to the proposal furnished by the Minister of
Plantation Industries for instructing the Legal Draftsman to prepare draft bills in order to
amend the Rubber Control Act No. 11 of 1956 and the Rubber Replanting Subsidy Act
No. 36 of 1953.


3. Amendment of section 46 of Industrial Disputes Act No. 43 of 1950


From the time of initiation of Labour Tribunals, opportunities have been granted for trade
union representatives and representatives who are not attorneys – at – law to appear
before Labour Tribunals representing their stakeholders equally as the attorneys – at law.
However, various issues emerged with regard to appearing of representatives who are not
attorneys – at – law before labour tribunals. With the objective of circumventing such
circumstances, approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted at their meeting held on
21.02.2017 to amend the Labour Disputes Act No. 43 of 1950 to enable appearing for a
representative on behalf of the aggrieved party from whom the power of representing is
granted before a labour tribunal. Accordingly, clearance of the Attorney – General has
been granted for the draft bill formulated by the Legal Draftsman. Therefore, the
approval of the Cabinet of Ministers is given to the proposal submitted by the Minister of
Labour and Foreign Employment for publishing the relevant draft bill in the gazette and
submit it to the Parliament subsequently in order to obtain approval.

 

4. Procurement of organic and chemical fertilizers required for paddy cultivation for
the Maha season 2022/23


It is expected to cultivate 800,000 hectares of paddy in the 2022/23 Maha season and
estimated that 150,000 metric tons of Urea, 45,000 metric tons of Muriate of Potash
(MOP) and 36,000 metric tons of Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) are required for paddy
cultivation for the 2022/23 Maha season. The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal
presented by the Minister of Agriculture to import the relevant quantities of fertilizer by
Ceylon Fertilizer Company Limited and Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Company
Limited and distribute them to the farmers.

 

5. Memorandum of Understanding on the Implementation of the Voluntary


Cooperation Program 2020 - 2027 with the World University Service in Canada.
The World University Service in Canada is implementing a voluntary collaboration
program in Sri Lanka for 30 years to provide education, employment and empowerment
opportunities that aim to improve the lives of millions of disadvantaged women and
youth around the world. Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the
two parties, the programs have been implemented under this from 2015 to 2020. The
program has not been implemented in Sri Lanka for the past 2 years due to Covid 19
travel restrictions and it is proposed to re-sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
in this regard. Accordingly the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by
the Prime Minister in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization &
National Policies to implement the relevant program under 10 Govt. & Non Govt.
Organizations with a grant of Canadian $ 2.76 million.

 

6. US $ 55 million Loan Scheme from the Export-Import Bank of India for the
procurement of urea fertilizer


The Government of India has agreed to provide a $ 55 million loan through the Export-
Import Bank of India for the procurement of Urea for the 2022/23 Maha season.
Accordingly the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Prime
Minister in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization & National
Policies to sign the agreements above.

 

7. Amendment to the Appropriation Act for the year 2022


Due to the difficult economic situation in the country, from the middle of the first quarter
of 2022, the Government had to incur expenditure on other essential functions in addition
to those which had been allocated by the Appropriation Act. Moreover, the ministry
structure that existed at the time of preparing the Appropriation Act for 2022 has now
changed significantly. Therefore the government has decided to introduce an amendment
bill in Parliament to replace the Appropriation Act No. 30 of 2021. Accordingly the
Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Prime Minister in his
capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization & National Policies to advice

legal draftsman to prepare a bill to amend the Appropriation Act No. 30 of 2021.

 

Lieutenant General H.L.V.M Liyanage RWP RSP ndu, more popularly known as Vikum Liyanage assumed duties as the 24th Commander of the Army on Wednesday (1) during a formal ceremony at the Army Headquarters.

On his arrival at the Army Headquarters, a Guard Turnout, presented by Gajaba Regiment troops saluted him in accordance with military traditions after the Commander of the Headquarters Brigade, Brigadier Indika Perera formally received him.

Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Jagath Kodithuwakku afterwards warmly greeted the Commander as he arrived at the parade ground and requested him to take the salute of the Guard of Honour from the special dais. Major General Swarna Bothota, Adjutant General of the Army afterwards conducted the day’s Chief Guest to the special dais.

The next segment of the day’s ceremony saw the Parade Commander, Captain S.R.V.K.S Bandara of the Gajaba Regiment, holding the symbolic sword, reported the parade, comprised of 2 Officers and 48 Other Ranks to the day’s Chief Guest and invited him to review the Guard of Honour to suit age-old military traditions.

The event scenario, set in the background of fluttering all colourful Regimental flags, added grandeur and significance to the day’s brief, but dignified event to the rhythmic beats and melodies of patriotic sentiments, played by parade troops as the new Commander, went past reviewing the military honours, along with the Parade Commander.

After a while, the Commander arrived at the entrance to the Commander’s Secretariat at the Army Headquarters, to be received by Principal Staff Officers and senior Officers, awaiting his arrival. Upon arrival at the Commander’s office, the new Commander made floral offerings to the Buddha.

A few minutes later, offer of the traditional ‘Deheth Wattiya’ (tray of betel) to Ven Dr Aluthnuwara Soratha Thero, Incumbent at Kotte Raja Maha Vihara, Dr Kirinde Assaji Nayaka Thero, Viharadhikari, Gangaramaya and members of the Maha Sangha invited to commence religious blessings. It also paved the way for Ven Eethalawetunuwewe Gnanathilake Thero, Chief Incumbent of Mirisawetiya Raja Maha Viharaya to deliver a brief oration (Anusasana) highlighting the importance of the office of the Commander and the occasion.

As chanting of ‘Seth Pirith’ was on, the new Commander afterwards, flanked by his wife, Mrs Janaki Liyanage and family members signed a formal document to signify the acceptance of the office of the Commander of the Army.

Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage afterwards received blessings of the clergy of all denominations and culminated the brief ceremony with the offer of ‘Pirikara’ and gifts to members of the Maha Sangha and other clergies of Catholic, Hindu and Islamic denominations.

Here follows a brief profile of the new Commander of the Army;

Lieutenant General HLVM Liyanage RWP RSP ndu has been appointed as the 24th Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, effective from 01 June 2022 by His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces after he was elevated to the rank of Lieutenant General with effect from the same date.

Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, prior to his new appointment was serving as the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army. He is the most Senior Officer in the Army as at present next to the outgoing Commander.

Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage as an Officer Cadet joined the Regular Force of the Sri Lanka Army on 27 October 1986 in the Regular Intake - 26 and followed basic military training at the prestigious Sri Lanka Military Academy at Diyatalawa and subsequently at Pakistan Military Academy. Upon successful completion of Officer Cadet training, he was commissioned in the rank of Second Lieutenant and was posted to the Gajaba Regiment.

During his 35 years of illustrious military career, he has held a number of significant command, staff and instructional appointments, including Platoon Commander, Company Commander and Adjutant of 4th Gajaba Regiment. In the Eastern theatre of operations, Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage performed a commendable role contributing to the eradication of terrorism from the region. He was also the Intelligence Officer of 21 and 55 Infantry Divisions, Second in Command of 14th Gajaba Regiment, Adjutant of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Staff Officer II (Admin) at Regimental Centre of the Gajaba Regiment, Second in Command of 10th Gajaba Regiment, Staff Officer II at Directorate of Staff Duties, Commanding Officer of 8th Gajaba Regiment during which Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage with his troops in the ‘rice bowl’ of Mannar made progress and advanced into terrorist-held areas in impressive operations.

Brigade Commander (Overlooking) of 225 and 553 Infantry Brigades, Sector Commander at Operations Command Colombo, Brigade Commander of 215, 542, 224, 221 and 623 Infantry Brigades, Director (Doctrine & Training) and Director (Operations & Systems) at the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff (OCDS), Commandant of Combat Training School (Ampara), Director General of Psychological Operations, General Officer Commanding of 21 Infantry Division, Commander Security Forces - West, Commander Security Forces - Central, Colonel of the Regiment of Sri Lanka National Guard, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force and the Chairman of Sri Lanka Army Wushu Committee.

Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage was able to widen his horizons through the experience gained over the years from respective appointments in his office and through further training he underwent. He has successfully followed a number of local courses, including the Internal Security/ Counter-Revolution Warfare Course at Army Training School (Maduru Oya), Method of Instructions Course at Sri Lanka Military Academy, Forward Observation Officer Course at School of Artillery (Minneriya), Battalion Support Weapon Course at Infantry Training Centre (Minneriya), Platoon Commanders’ Refresher Course at Army Training School (Maduru Oya), Company Commanders’ Refresher Course at Army Headquarters, Unit Security Officers’ Course at Military Intelligence Corps, Management & Leadership Development Course at General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Basic Mediation Skills & Process (UNHCR) course at 21 Division and Multinational Platoon Exercise-3 at Kukuleganga.

To his credit, he has also followed many overseas courses, workshops and seminars of professional value, including Officers’ Physical Training Course in India, Young Officers’ Course in Pakistan, Junior Command Course in India, Unit Commanders’ Course in Bangladesh, Senior Command Course in India, Advanced Security Cooperation Programme in Hawai and Regular Education Programme at National Institute of Lemhannas in Indonesia.

Further, he holds a Masters’ degree in Strategic and Resilience Studies from Lemhannas University, Indonesia and a degree on ‘Global Security in Indo-Pacific Region’ from Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Hawai. In addition, he has received a Diploma in Defence Management from the University of Indore in India.

During the peak of the final humanitarian operation, General Vikum Liyanage commanded the 8 Gajaba Regiment of victorious 57 and 56 Divisions which were actively conducting operations. He was able to achieve many victories against the LTTE. Over and above, Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage who has actively taken part in operations against the LTTE has been adorned with gallantry awards of Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP) for individual or associated acts of bravery in the face of the enemy and performed voluntarily. He was also decorated with the Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) for distinguished conduct in the face of the enemy. The Senior Officer was awarded above medals thrice during his military career for being a pioneer in eradicating terrorism during North and East Humanitarian Operations. Further, he is a recipient of Desha Puthra Padakkama for being wounded whilst on operations due to enemy action. Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage has also received service decorations such as East Humanitarian Operation Medal, North Humanitarian Operation Medal, Purna Bhumi Padakkama, North and East Operation Medal, Riviresa Campaign Service Medal, 50th Independence Anniversary Commemoration Medal, Sri Lanka Army 50th Anniversary Medal, Long Service Medal, Seva Abhimani Medal and Service Medal.

During his school career, he shone in athletics and hockey as a bright student and received accolades for the school, Vijaya College in Matale.

Similarly, the honorary title of ‘Janamanya Vibhutiratna’ in the Buddhist Monastic Order of Amarapura Chapter was conferred in recognition of his immense contribution for fostering of the Buddha Sasana. He is married to Mrs. Janaki Jayaratne and blessed with a daughter and a son. 

Acting Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva was appointed today as the new Chief of Defence Staff.

He will take office with effect from tomorrow (June 01).

The official letter in this regard was handed over to him by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the President’s House, Colombo, today (31).

Former Army Commander and Acting Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva has been appointed as the new Chief of Defence Staff following the relinquishment of his office as the Army Commander today (31). 

Major General Vikum Liyanage has been appointed as the new Commander of Sri Lanka Army by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Major General Liyanage is the 24th Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and he has received the letter of appointment from the President. He succeeds General Shavendra Silva who served as the Commander of the Army for nearly three years. 

 

The functioning of the Parliament has been paralyzed due to the weakening of the Parliamentary powers by the 20th Amendment. The Executive has been given more powers, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said making a special statement yesterday afternoon.

The full statement: Today, the main issues in our country are not limited to the economic sphere. There are also two major issues in the political sphere. The re-introduction of the 19th Amendment is one of these issues. We, as Party leaders, are now preparing the 21 st Amendment in this regard.

The timing and methodology must be decided by the Party Leaders. The functioning of the Parliament has been paralyzed due to the weakening of the Parliamentary powers by the 20th Amendment. The Executive has been given more powers. The main allegation today is that the Parliament has not acted to prevent the economic crisis. There is an allegation that even though the ruling party had a majority in Parliament they neglected the work of Parliament.

Everything was systematically controlled by the Cabinet Ministers.

We do not always have to look at what happened in the past, but there are examples we can follow. Before the independence of Sri Lanka, there was a State Council from 1931 to 1947. That State Council functioned following the committee system. Each subject was divided into seven committees. The Chairmen of the Committees became Ministers. The seven Ministers had formed a Cabinet. In addition, there were three officials appointed by the Governor. In addition, there was an Accounts Committee to control public money. At that time we had the opportunity to carry out this methodology successfully.

Now we need to change the structure of Parliament and create a new system by combining the existing system of Parliament or the Westminster system and the system of State Councils. In those cases, Parliament can participate in governing the country.

First of all, the existing laws need to be strengthened in order to give those powers to Parliament in the exercise of monetary powers. Following the example of countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and India, we are proposing a stronger and more powerful law. At present, there are three Committees on Government Finance. The three Committees are the Public Finance Committee, the Accounts Committee and the Committee on Public Enterprises. Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena has made several proposals to strengthen the powers of these three Committees.

In addition, we are bringing recommendations forward. We are working to establish two new Committees on Monetary Affairs. We will appoint a Legal and Methodological Committee to look into the matter. Secondly, the main problem we face is the financial condition of the banks and financial institutions. There are a number of issues that have been weakened. Under our Standing Order 111, we can appoint oversight committees. No oversight committees have been appointed before. Therefore, we propose to appoint ten oversight committees. They also report to Parliament on policies. Parliament should act on that.

It should also be noted that the chairpersons of these five Finance Committees and the Ten Supervisory Committees are appointed by backbenchers. They are not appointed by Ministers. Therefore, we have the opportunity to work out a methodology that is independent of the Cabinet of Ministers and works with both the Minister and the Parliament. The youth are calling for a change in the existing system. They also want to know the current issues. Therefore, I propose to appoint four youth representatives to each of these 15 committees. One of them will be appointed by the Youth Parliament. The other three will be from the protesting groups and other activist groups. The methodology used to choose these individuals can be decided by the youth organizations themselves.

In addition, we hope to involve people with expertise in specific fields in this work. Through this work, young people will be able to learn about problems and provide solutions to them on their own. They will be able to contest elections if they wish to do so.

We also propose a National Council. A committee consisting of the Speaker, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition and the leaders of the major parties is called the National Council.

It should be said that the National Council is very important. The National Council can talk about the policies of the country. It can also talk about the decisions of the Cabinet. It can also talk about the reorganization of the Parliament of this country. If so, it can be called a political body. The National Council has the right to summon the Cabinet of Ministers and the Chairmen of Committees.

According to the new system, we have proposed, the President will be held accountable to the Parliament. The Cabinet of Ministers is also accountable to Parliament. The National Council is also accountable to Parliament. Fifteen Committees and Oversight Committees are accountable to Parliament.

There is a system in place to control the Government through the Cabinet, to examine the work of the President, to oversee the work of the political affairs through the National Council, and to oversee the financial affairs and other matters of the other fifteen committees. There are articles prepared on this matter. I appreciate that a number of other organizations have made similar proposals.

 

Page 7 of 85

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