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CoPF urges to ensure the entire ‘Aswesuma’ project is done electronically

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The Committee on Public Finance has directed the officials of the Welfare Benefits Board to give priority to the criteria that can be verified and determined in order to accurately identify poverty while selecting the beneficiaries. Drawing examples, the Committee pointed out that individual poverty can be identified better based on the electricity bill amount considering the electricity units consumed in each home.

The Committee pointed out that there are major problems and lack of formality in the criteria used in the selection of relief beneficiaries, and advised them to rectify it as soon as possible. The officials of the Ministry of Finance told the Committee that they will change the method of giving points that is currently used in the selection of relief beneficiaries.

The matter was taken up for discussion when the Committee on Public Finance met in Parliament recently (May 28) under the chairmanship of Dr. Harsha de Silva.

Furthermore, the amendment to the regulations under section 27 of the Welfare Benefits Act No. 24 of 2002 published in the Extraordinary Gazette No. 2382/02 dated 29.04.2024 was considered before the Committee.

The members of the Committee pointed out the way in which huge corruption and irregularities take place through the manual recording of data by those people while selecting the beneficiaries. Accordingly, the Committee on Public Finance gave a recommendation to the Ministry of Finance officials to conduct the entire process from collecting necessary data to the selection of relief beneficiaries only via electronic means.

Furthermore, the displeasure of the Committee was expressed for not taking formal legal action for the irregularities that have arisen in relation to the selection of beneficiaries. The Committee pointed out that by not taking legal action, more and more corruption and irregularities will occur and it will create a serious obstacle for the right people to get the benefits. Accordingly, the Committee Chair instructed the officials to investigate the complaints received and take necessary legal measures for the same.

Milk powder prices
Furthermore, the order was reconsidered under Section 3 of the Port and Airport Development Tax Act No. 18 of 2011 published in the Extraordinary Gazette No. 2350-45 dated 21.9.2023. Milk powder prices and local milk powder market were discussed under this. The Chair emphasized the importance of introducing a price formula for milk powder based on a scientific method. Accordingly, the Chair also instructed the officials to introduce the HHI (Herfindahl-Hirschman index) index.

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Fresh protest in Jaffna over poaching by Indian fishermen

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Associations representing fishermen in the north today  staged a protest in front of the Indian Consulate in Jaffna demanding to stop the Indian trawler that were trespassing in the Sri Lankan waters.

They also met the Indian Consul General Sai Murali and handed over a letter.

The move came as the  government was planning to  take up the issue of poaching with the visiting Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishnakar  who is due on June 20 in Colombo.

When President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited New Delhi on June 9 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the matter was also raised in a separate meeting with Minister Dr Jaishnakar as well.

Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda earlier told the Sunday Times that the government will take up the matter with the visiting Indian Foreign Minister this week as the government is consistent with its policy of preventing Indian fishermen from robbing billions worth of fisheries resources from the Northern Sea.

“As a nation, we have to protect our resources, interests and the livelihood of our fisherfolks. I hope to raise the issue in the next Cabinet meeting (June 19) as well,” Minister Devananda said.

Days before the annual breeding ban was lifted, a group of fishermen’s unions based in North handed over a petition on Tuesday to officials at the Indian Consulate General office in Jaffna requesting them to make immediate steps to prevent Indian fishermen coming into Sri Lankan waters at the expense of their livelihood.

The fishermen unions which formed a collective outfit as Northen Fishermen’s Allaince requested President Wickremesinghe in a petition urged authorities to “expedite their maximum efforts to monitoring and preventing the daily incursion of thousands of Tamil Nadu trawlers every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings,”

The two-month-long ban came into effect from April 14 onwards and was lifted on Friday is enforced to facilitate the breeding of fish banks in the ocean and maintain the equilibrium of marine sources for sustainability.

Currently, Indian fishermen who engage in fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters are arrested by the Navy and Coast Guard and subjected to legal action after their trawlers are seized.

Following the legal action in which the Magistrate courts hand in a suspended sentence of eighteen months for engaging in fishing without a license, fishermen are released and repatriated through the assistance of Indian diplomatic missions.

(sundaytimes.lk)

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

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President tells Minister Wijeyadasa to quit?

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The Senior Vice Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa has claimed that President Ranil Wickremesinghe has pressured Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, to resign from the government.

He alleged that Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe revealed this during a politburo meeting.

However, ‘Ada Derana’ reports that upon contacting Minister Rajapakshe, he said that the statement made by Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa is untrue.  

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 Railways TU action called off

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The Sri Lanka Railways Station Masters’ Union (SLRSMU) has decided to call off their planned trade union action as their demands are being reviewed by the Public Service Commission. 

The Commission is expected to announce its decision by Thursday (20). Meanwhile, train operations are continuing as usual today, according to the SLRSMU.

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