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Narendra Modi sworn in as India’s PM (video)

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in on Sunday for a third term after worse-than-expected election results left him reliant on coalition partners to govern.

Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled outright for the past decade but failed to repeat its previous two landslide wins this time around, defying analysts’ expectations and exit polls.

He was instead forced into quick-fire talks with the 15-member coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which guaranteed him the parliamentary numbers to govern.

Narendra Modi, flanked by top BJP officials and party leaders of his coalition, vowed in a ceremony marking his formal assumption of power to “bear true allegiance to the constitution of India”.

Honour guards lined the steps of the presidential palace where thousands gathered to watch Modi, dressed in a white kurta and with blue waistcoat, take the oath.

South Asian leaders from neighbouring Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka attended the ceremony but neighbouring rivals China and Pakistan had notably not sent top leaders.

Bollywood and business tycoons

The cheering crowd also included adoring BJP loyalists, as well as celebrities such as Bollywood legend Shahrukh Khan and billionaire tycoons Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani, key Modi allies.

But with Narendra Modi yet to announce his new cabinet, the line of lawmakers also taking the oath of office was keenly watched as an indication of who will be in government.

Modi was followed immediately by top BJP aides Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and Nitin Gadkari — the defence, interior and transport ministers in his last government respectively.

Tenth to take the oath, and first among the BJP’s coalition members, was H.D. Kumaraswamy from the Janata Dal (Secular) party.

Larger coalition parties have demanded hefty concessions in exchange for their support.

Other coalition leaders to take the oath included Ram Mohan Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the largest BJP ally with 16 seats, and which India media reports has extracted four cabinet positions.

Rajiv Ranjan Singh also took the oath, from the BJP’s next biggest ally the Janata Dal (United) with 12 seats, which has reportedly two minister posts.

( AFP)

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8,000 UDA flat dwellers to get title deeds

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Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said yesterday that arrangements have been made to provide title deeds to 8,000 residents of the apartments owned by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) next month, under the Government’s programme to provide title deeds to dwellers in such apartments in Colombo.

In addition, the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has also planned to give 1,070 title deeds to dwellers living in apartments in Colombo.

He said that this programme will be implemented according to the pledge given by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in the last Budget that 50,000 Colombo flat owners will be given their title deeds.

According to the UDA, 14,559 units of the 22 housing complexes have been given to low-income people.

Accordingly, the granting of title deeds will be made focusing on UDA housing projects of Mihindu Senpura, Sirisara Garden, Methsara Garden, Lakmuthu Sewana, and Sirimuthu Garden under the first phase.

In addition, title deeds of Laksandha Sevana, Randiya Uyana, Lakmuthu Uyana, Muwadora Uyana, Siyapath Sevana, Puradora Sevana, Jayamaga Sevana, Mihijaya Sevana, Helamuthu Sevana, Laksetha Sevana and Lakhiru Sevana housing projects are to be given to its dwellers before the end of this year.

The NHDA will first issue the title deeds for the apartments that have been built in the Colombo Municipal Council areas.

Transferring of ownerships of these houses to dwellers has been delayed due to the problematic situation arising from certain related rules and regulations. The Minister emphasised that he has already discussed with the Attorney General and obtained the necessary advice in this regard.

Minister Ranatunga further stated that all Colombo flat owners will be given their title deeds before the end of this year.

After giving the deeds to the owners of these houses, it is expected to carry out maintenance and management of these houses by a joint management corporation which will be established with the representation of the resident population.

An amount of Rs. 2 billion has been allocated in the 2024 Budget for providing ‘Urumaya’ freehold deeds to all who are eligible to receive and confirm landownership in the next two months.

(dailynews.lk)

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

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Sailor succumbs to injuries off Delft island

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A Sri Lanka Navy personnel has succumbed to his injuries suffered during an attempt to arrest a group of Indian fishermen poaching in seas off the Delft island in Jaffna, the Navy said today (June 25).

The sailor had fallen of the Naval craft and suffered injuries.

Ten Indian fishermen were taken into custody in the incident.

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World Bank approves $150 mn. to improve Primary Healthcare Services in SL

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The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved $150 million in financing for Sri Lanka to improve the quality and utilization of its primary healthcare services. 

The newly approved Sri Lanka Primary Healthcare System Enhancing Project will help improve quality of care and increase the use of primary medical care institutions, which provide essential health services to local communities.

Capacity challenges and absence of a formal referral mechanism have led to the underutilization of primary healthcare facilities and overcrowding in tertiary care facilities in Sri Lanka. The previous World Bank-supported Primary Healthcare Systems Strengthening Project had already enhanced 550 Primary Medical Care Institutions with essential equipment, medicines, health workers and basic laboratory testing facilities. The new project will scale up these efforts to cover 100% of Primary Medical Care Institutions across all districts of Sri Lanka, expanding to over 1,000 facilities with a more comprehensive service package and improved quality of care.

“Sri Lanka’s health system has demonstrated remarkable performance, but it needs to be strengthened to face emerging health care challenges,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “This project will support the country’s forward-looking primary care reorganization agenda, laying the foundation for a more responsive and people-centric healthcare system.”

Non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cervical cancer are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Sri Lanka, accounting for 80% of deaths.  Effective control and management of non-communicable diseases require robust screening, early diagnosis, treatment and follow up. Additionally, Sri Lanka has the fastest aging population in South Asia, necessitating health system adaptations to meet the growing healthcare needs of the elderly. This project is designed around these evolving health priorities, helping invest in preventive care and promoting primary care facilities as the first point of care.

In addition, the project will support the provision of comprehensive primary healthcare services by expanding capacity to cover mental health, palliative, geriatric, rehabilitative, and emergency care, which are particularly important for the aging population. The project will also bolster pandemic preparedness by expanding the capacity of primary medical care institutions to detect and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks. This will help Sri Lanka’s healthcare system to adapt and respond effectively to new and emerging challenges.

(worldbank.org)

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