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Rathna Pushpakumari bids adieu

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Senior Counsellor in Psychology and Veteran TV News Anchor – Ms. Rathna Pushpakumari has passed away after a prolonged illness.

She was 61 years of age.

Starting as a radio presenter, she was a beloved TV news anchor in the 90s.

A member of the Institute of Sinhala Culture (Sudarshi), Ms. Pushpakumari was also a senior counsellor in Psychology.

Her remains will lie at the Sudarshi hall from tomorrow morning (29) before being taken to a private funeral parlour on Tuesday (30).

Final rites will be held at the Borella cemetery at 5.00pm on May 31.

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Samurdhi Dept. told to conduct survey to identify poverty-stricken families

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The Sectoral Oversight Committee on Alleviating the Impact of the Economic Crisis has instructed the Department of Samurdhi Development to conduct a quick survey to identify other poverty-stricken families who need to be empowered.

This was taken into discussion when the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Alleviating the Impact of the Economic Crisis met in Parliament on Sep. 19 chaired by MP Gamini Waleboda Member of Parliament.

Commenting further, the Member of Parliament stated to the officials of the Department of Samurdhi Development to appoint a Committee together with the Ministry of Finance, the Welfare Benefits Board and the Department of Census and Statistics to take the necessary measures.

The discussion was held with the aim of reviewing the goals of the Department of Samurdhi Development to reduce the impact of the economic crisis and the current plans to achieve those goals in the year 2024.

The officials of the Department of Samurdhi Development, who presented the facts, mentioned that at present there are more than sixteen hundred thousand Samurdhi beneficiary families. Accordingly, the department has planned to empower forty-one hundred thousand families in the two years from 2024 to 2026.

The Chair reminded the officials that the responsibility of empowering all families who are affected by the economic crisis and those who are not is entrusted to the Department of Samurdhi Development. The Committee also ordered the Department of Samurdhi Development to immediately prepare a plan to eradicate poverty within the next five years.

The Leader of the Opposition – Sajith Premadasa, addressing the Committee, pointed out the dire need to first establish technical definitions to identify poverty.

The Committee also discussed about the proposed number of new employees in the department, which has been presented in relation to the future plans of the Department of Samurdhi Development. The Committee Chair pointed out that the sacrifices made by the officers of the Department of Samurdhi Development Department during the Covid pandemic cannot be forgotten. The Chair instructed the officials of the Management Services Department to take into consideration the work done by them in the past while approving the proposed number of new employees. Accordingly, the Committee ordered the Management Services Department to come to a final decision about the proposed staff of the Samurdhi Development Department within two weeks and to approve it.

The Committee also discussed the people who have not yet received their pension due to the retired officials of the Samurdhi Development Department and the related reasons. The Chair asked the officials of the Department of Pensions to arrange for the payment of the basic pension to the employees who have not yet received their pension.

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Inland Revenue Act to be amended

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The Cabinet has approved a proposal to amend the Inland Revenue Act No. 24 of 2017, the Government Information Department said.

It has been proposed that it is appropriate to amend the Inland Revenue tax to enable to request tax relief by any charity establishment that provides health facilities to children with disabilities in the society joined hands with government health services / education system and that is established as a legitimate institution prioritizing the well–being of the differently-abled children in society while being established as a legitimate institution or registered under any law enforced for registering social services organizations. 

Accordingly, the Cabinet approved the resolution prepared by the acting Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to direct the Legal Draftsman to draft a Bill to amend the Inland Revenue Act including legal provisions.

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National Debt Management Institute to be established

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The Cabinet has granted approval to establish a National Debt Management Institute.

It has been emphasized in the supplementary Budget of 2022 the importance of the establishment of a State Loan Management Institute as an institutional reformation while enhancing loan management and transparency has been recognized as a prioritized sector even under the appropriation loan facility of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Government said that technical assistance has been rendered by the IMF and the World Bank in order to establish the proposed state loan management institute.

The loan management reformation plan, loan management institutional framework and legal framework have been planned by now.

Accordingly, the Cabinet approved the resolution tabled by the acting Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to direct the Legal Draftsman to draft the Bill of the State Loan Management Act.

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