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Aswesuma 2nd phase : Ways & Means committee ready to be a facilitator

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The 18th meeting of the Committee on Ways and Means was held yesterday (22) in Parliament under the Chairmanship of MP Patali Champika Ranawaka.
The discussion held was in connection with the implementation of the appeal process of the “Aswasuma” benefit program and obtaining the Grama Niladhari officials for the implementation of its second phase.

Representative officials of the Welfare Benefit Board, Director Generals of Institutions and Grama Niladhari officials Trade Unions, Sri Lanka United Grama Niladhari officials Association, All Ceylon Independent Grama Niladhari officials Association, Graduate Grama Niladhari officials Association, Government Grama Niladhari officials Association, Sri Lanka Administrative Grama Niladhari officials Association, All Ceylon Administrative Grama Niladhari officials Association, Sri Lanka United Grama Niladhari officials Association were called before this Committee meeting held.

Ready to be a facilitator

It was stated that the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government should find a solution for the concerns related to the service constitution of the Grama Niladhari officials in order to get the services of the Grama Niladhari officials in relation to the appeal process of the “Aswasuma” benefit program and the implementation of its second phase, and it was also stated that the Chairman has informed that the Committee on Ways and Means is ready to provide the necessary coordination as a facilitator for a discussion held by the Grama Niladhari officials.
The Chair inquired about the issues raised by the Grama Niladhari officials in connection with the benefit program. The Grama Niladhari officials stated that there is a need for a written authorization specifying the specific role expected from the Grama Niladhari officials in connection with the benefit program. Moreover, the need to appoint administrative Grama Niladhari officials as a supervisory officer in non-obligatory duties was also pointed out. It was also emphasized that it is essential to specify in writing the legal protection, the time frame for work responsibilities and the stipend paid to the officials and that the stipend should be sufficient for the existing cost of living and the relevant role. The Committee Chair, MP Patali Champika Ranawaka, pointed out that it is important to have a coordinated program for Aswasuma as previously the government initiated a program to provide technology to the people by establishing ‘Vidatha’ centers with the Samurdhi program and the Central Bank started a loan scheme like Saubhagya.

Discussion for Grama Niladhari officialsThe Chair also recommended that a discussion be called for the 332 Administrative Grama Niladhari officials across Sri Lanka and three each from one Grama Niladhari officials Trade Union to determine accountability, technical changes, allowances, etc. in relation to obtaining an agreement for the appeal process and implementation of the second phase of the Aswasuma benefit program.

Furthermore, the Chair recommended that the responsibilities of the Grama Niladhari official and administrative Grama Niladhari official should be given in writing and to consider to review and repeal the sections 21 and 22 of the relevant Act which may punish them legally when delegating authority to the Grama Niladhari official. The Committee Chair also pointed out the need to get opinions from the grassroots level when setting criteria for such programs.

Apart from this, the human-elephant conflict in the Irudeniya area was also discussed at the Committee meeting held.

State Minister – Shasheendra Rajapaksa, Members of Parliament Ashok Abeysinghe, Sanjeeva Edirimanna, Nalaka Bandara Kottegoda, Wasantha Yapabandara were present at the Committee meeting held.

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Shooting incident ‘targeting’ former MP Uddika was self-orchestrated : Police

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Sri Lanka Police says it has been uncovered that the incident where several gunshots had been fired at the vehicle belonging to former Anuradhapura District parliamentarian Uddika Premaratne, had been orchestrated by the actor-turned-politician himself with the assistance of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in the area.

Speaking during a press conference held in Colombo today (13), the Police Media Spokesman DIG Nihal Thalduwa said that the suspects connected to the incident have been identified so far following investigations carried out by the CID.

On September 17, 2023, a group of unidentified gunmen had opened fire at Premaratne’s car soon after he returned to his residence in Anuradhapura at around 10:35 p.m. The parliamentarian had managed to escape unharmed.

The perpetrators, who had arrived in a car, were said to have targeted the parliamentarian who was walking towards the house after parking his vehicle. The left rear door glass of Premaratne’s car was damaged in the shooting incident for which the gunmen were believed to have used a pistol.

Anuradhapura police initiated investigations soon after the incident was reported and Special Task Force (STF) personnel were deployed to beef up the security near the MP’s house. Later, investigations into the matter were handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

However, the former MP claimed that the existing system within the country was the reason behind the recent shooting incident targeting him.

Speaking in Parliament in this regard, MP Premaratne said that while he believed the system was the cause behind the recent shooting outside his residence, it is also the reason why the country is in the state it is today.

Later on 27 February 2024, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP resigned as a Member of Parliament, following which S.C. Muthukumarana of SLPP was appointed to fill the vacant MP seat.

However, Premaratne was later reported to have flown to Canada, seeking political asylum, which he refuted, and claimed that he was expecting a work visa in Canada.

In 2020, the popular actor was announced as a candidate for the 2020 parliamentary election from the Anuradhapura District as a member of the Sri Lanka People’s Freedom Alliance, a political alliance led by the SLPP formed in 2019. 

He obtained 133,550 votes and won a seat in the 16th Parliament of Sri Lanka.

(adaderana.lk)

(This story, originally published by adaderana.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Apple is the world’s first $1 trillion brand: Kantar

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Kantar BrandZ’s Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands 2024 has named Apple as the world’s first trillion-dollar brand, holding onto pole position for the third consecutive year. 

Google, Microsoft, and Amazon join Apple atop the rankings, with McDonald’s rounding up the top 5.

Demonstrating how effective AI has become for driving brand value, NVIDIA has lept 18 places to crack the top 10 for the first time, holding sixth position with a 178% year-on-year brand value increase. 

Facebook rejoined the Top 10 after a one-year absence, while Oracle joined the Top 10 for the first time. 

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The G7 Summit begins today

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Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries are meeting for a three-day summit, starting today (13 June) to discuss global affairs in the southern region of Puglia (Apulia), Italy.  

Heads of state of the seven members – the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom – as well as the chiefs of the European Council and the European Commission will be present at the event.

Italy, the host of this year’s event, has extended an invitation to more than 10 other countries for sideline discussions. These include UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed, Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Notable absentees are Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who it  is reported, had been invited.

Support for Ukraine is top of the agenda. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to arrive on the summit’s first day for two sessions dedicated to the war-torn country. The G7’s most anticipated outcome is an agreement over a $50bn loan for Ukraine backed by profits accrued on Russian assets frozen in the West. 

The war on Gaza is also expected to dominate talks. 

Pope Francis will also be among the guests – the first time a pontiff has been invited to the summit – for a session dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI). Other specific sessions will be on migration, financial issues and the situation in the Asia Pacific. 

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