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CoPF approves to set up Parliamentary Budget Office

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The Committee on Public Finance (CoPF) approved the Bill for the Parliamentary Budget Office pending one amendment.

The draft bill for the Parliamentary Budget Office was taken up for consideration at the CoPF meeting headed by Chairman Dr. Harsha De Silva on June 13.

Dr. Silva said that this legislation was long overdue and would inject some much-needed independence in the analysis process.

The Committee scrutinized key areas of the Bill and paid special attention to:

● The scope of the budget office with regards to evaluations done on economic cost and revenue generation only. There is no mandate to evaluate social impact.

● The selection process is through an advisory committee consisting of the Chairs of the Public Finance and Ways & Means Committees and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament. This advisory committee will help the Secretary General of Parliament shortlist candidates for selection by the Constitutional Council for the Parliamentary Budget Office.

● The ability of the Budget Office to stay consistent with the National Physical plan and disseminate information in strict compliance with the Act that ensures that no sensitive data of compromising nature would be shared.

● More transparency in New Provision for Aspiring Candidates.

Meanwhile, a new provision grants the ability for leaders of recognized political parties to forward their own party economic manifestos to the Budget Office for independent analysis.

This enables greater transparency and accountability by aspiring candidates who will have to have scientific methodology to their manifesto provisions.

Accordingly, the Chairman stressed that the Parliamentary Budget Office is an independent entity enshrined by legislature to analyze what has been proposed using alternative methodologies to see what the financial impact on the forecasts are.

The Bill was approved pending an amendment to present the budget of the Budget Office within 60 days. 

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Election Commission invites tenders for election stationery

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The Election Commission has announced a call for tenders to procure essential stationery, including indelible ink, for the upcoming election. 

The required items include photocopy and printing paper, printed and data-printed envelopes, pens, pencils, carbon paper, staplers and stapler pins, calculators, and other necessary supplies for the election process. 

Tenders will be opened on August 2nd under the national competitive bidding process.

Meanwhile, Deputy Postmaster General Rajitha Ranasinghe stated that preparations for the Presidential Election are ongoing despite a staff shortage. 

He confirmed that 8000 mail delivery staff will be deployed for relevant tasks. 

However, the Election Commission and relevant authorities have been informed about the staffing issue.

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Sri Lanka announces squad for home series against India

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Sports Minister Harin Fernando has approved the 16-member squad for Sri Lanka’s upcoming home series against India, with Charith Asalanka named as the Captain.

The squad includes notable players such as Kusal Janith Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, and Chamindu Wickremesinghe.

India’s tour of Sri Lanka will feature a three-match T20I series followed by a three-match ODI series.

**Sri Lanka’s 16-member squad:**

1. Charith Asalanka – Captain
2. Pathum Nissanka
3. Kusal Janith Perera
4. Kamindu Mendis
5. Dasun Shanaka
6. Wanindu Hasaranga
7. Mahesh Theekshana
8. Matheesha Pathirana
9. Nuwan Thushara
10. Dunith Wellalage
11. Dushmantha Chameera
12. Binura Fernando
13. Dinesh Chandimal
14. Avishka Fernando
15. Chamindu Wickremesinghe

ODI Series at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
– August 2
– August 4
– August 7

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Hospital to be established at Somawathiya Raja Maha Viharaya

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The Health Ministry has announced plans to construct a peripheral hospital within the Somawathiya Raja Maha Viharaya premises to serve the large number of devotees and nearby communities.

A special discussion on this initiative was recently held at the temple, led by the Chief Incumbent, Ven. Pahamune Sri Sumangala Thera. 

The Chief Incumbent highlighted the temple’s significant daily visitor count of around 1,000 devotees, which swells to over 50,000 on Poya days and exceeds 100,000 during Poson and Esala Poya days. 

Currently, devotees who fall ill are transported to Polonnaruwa Hospital, a process that will be significantly eased with the new hospital.

Under the Health Ministry’s directives, two ambulances from Polonnaruwa General Hospital have been stationed at the temple to assist sick devotees. 

The new hospital will provide much-needed relief to the local villages of Sungawila, Katuwanwala, Galkanda, and Kandakadu.

Health Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala outlined the facilities of the new hospital, which will include an outpatient department, an emergency treatment unit, male and female wards, and residential quarters for doctors and health staff. 

This hospital will function as an affiliate of Polonnaruwa General Hospital, with staff being deployed from the main hospital.

A special Cabinet paper for the hospital’s construction is set to be presented, with an allocation of Rs.100 million for the project this year.

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