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64 Indian funded development projects implemented in Sri Lanka

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Third phase MoU signed on Tuesday

In terms of the ongoing High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP), a total of 64 schemes worth approximately Sri Lankan Rs. 20 bn as aid from Government of India have been implemented in Sri Lanka, the Indian HC said in a statement issued yesterday (11).

As per the new framework MoU for the third phase, signed on Tuesday, individual developmental projects costing up to Rs 300 million in social sectors such as health, education, water, sanitation, agriculture etc., could be implemented. The total outlay of all such projects at any given time was up to Rs 5 bn.

The MoU was signed by High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay and Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle at Temple Trees in the presence of Prime Minister

The following is the text of HC statement: “The extension of the ongoing MoU on HICDP for another five years had been announced during the Virtual Bilateral Summit between Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on 26 September 2020.

“It had been also agreed during the Virtual Bilateral Summit to deepen and broadbase the HICDP projects currently undertaken in each of Sri Lanka’s 25 districts. These projects shall relate chiefly to socio-economic development, livelihood support, conservation of environmental and cultural heritage, empowerment of women, child welfare and facilitation of community life, particularly through the creation of infrastructure in the education, health, agriculture or community development sectors. The Ministry of Finance is the nodal Ministry for implementing the HICDP scheme on the Sri Lankan side.

“Presently, 21 projects covering all provinces viz., Northern, North-Central, North-Western, Western, Southern, Central, Uva, Sabaragamuva and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka are being undertaken under the MOU. They include construction of primary schools and colleges, vocational training institutes, Universities, hospitals, rural sanitation, cultural heritage, rain water harvesting, social housing for poor, agricultural warehousing, tourism and civil aviation infrastructure support.

“The HICDP scheme has been designed to contribute to the developmental aspirations and needs of Sri Lanka. The projects undertaken are always demand-driven and entirely based on the requirements of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka. Further, all overheads and administrative costs for implementing these projects, as indeed any other projects under Government of India grant, are absorbed separately by Government of India and are not included in the project outlay.  The scheme is entirely on-budget and implemented through various line Ministries of Sri Lanka, thereby indicating the depth of our development cooperation with Sri Lanka. HICDP reflects the abiding commitment of India to work closely with the Government and people of Sri Lanka for shared progress and prosperity.

In a conversation with Prime Minister Rajapaksa, after the signing ceremony, High Commissioner Baglay conveyed his greetings to the Prime Minister on the upcoming festival of Deepawali and also referred to the Navratri Puja celebrations held recently at Temple Trees.”



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SL gets Rs 452 mn for saving ill-fated tanker: Rs. 3.4 bn asked for

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By Ifham Nizam and Rathindra Kuruwita

The Marine Enviro-nment Protection Authority (MEPA) yesterday received Rs. 452 million from London for having saved MT New Diamond, a super oil tanker that caught fire in the Sri Lanka’s territorial waters last year.

MEPA General Manager, Dr. P. B. Terney Pradeep Kumara told The Island that Rs. 442 million had come for the services rendered by the Sri Lanka Navy, MEPA and Rs. 10 million by way of a fine imposed on the Ship’s Captain.

However, Sri Lanka has to receive a much larger amount for the damage caused to the marine environment, Dr. Kumara said. Following the incident, Sri Lankan authorities filed charges against the Captain of the ill-fated vessel and made a claim for $2.4 million from the ship’s owners for the firefighting and pollution prevention efforts.

Twenty experts from the Universities of Moratuwa, Ruhuna and Sri Jayewardenepura submitted their recommendations as regards the damage to the environment, to the Attorney General. Based on the report, the Attorney General’s Department had asked for Rs. 3.4 billion (around USD 19 million) as compensation for environmental damage, the Coordinating Officer for the Attorney General, state counsel Nishara Jayaratne said.

Soon they would have discussions with the lawyers of the shipping agent concerned on compensation for environmental damage caused, she said.

Dr. Kumara, who is the former Head of the Department of Oceanography/Marine Geology of the Ruhuna University, said that the incident had caused deaths among marine species due to spillage of some toxic fuel from the vessel.

The MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was transporting 270,000 MT oil from the port of Meena Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Port of Paradip in India when a fire broke out in its engine room as the vessel was passing the eastern seas of Sri Lanka on September 3, 2020.

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PSC on gender equality meets for the first time

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State Minister, Fernandopulle flanked by two other PSC members

Special attention on microfinance

The Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to further gender equality, to investigate instances of discrimination against women and to present recommendations to Parliament, focused on microfinance loans that are currently affecting a large number of women in Sri Lanka, when they met for the first time in Parliament recently.

The meeting was chaired by the State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID-19 Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle.

It was also revealed that the Cabinet had approved the re-establishment of an institution to regulate Microfinance loans in Sri Lanka.

The MPs also discussed the role of the Select Committee. They decided that the primary role of the Committee should be to investigate women’s grievances and all forms of discrimination based on gender, including workplace violence.

Another task before this committee is to examine and review laws that can be used to enhance gender equality, encourage relevant ministries and authorities to formulate plans to further gender equality and to allocate financial resources.

The Committee will also try to encourage greater women’s representation in decision-making bodies at the national and provincial levels as well as in government, civil society and the private sector.

MPs Rohini Kaviratne, (Dr.) Harini Amarasuriya, M. Udayakumar, S. Sritharan, Rohana Bandara and the Secretary to the Committee, Deputy Secretary General and Chief of Staff of the Parliament Kushani Rohanadheera were also present at the meeting.

 

 

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A/L Examination from October 04 to 30

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The 2021 GCE Advanced Level examination would be held from October 4 to 30, Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said yesterday addressing the media at his Ministry.

Minister Peiris said the examination was earlier scheduled to be held in August.

The Grade 5 scholarship examination would be held on October 03 and the 2021 GCE Ordinary Level (O/L) examination in the last week of January 2022, the Minister said.

“Usually, schools are open for academic activities for around 200 days a year. But in 2020, schools were open for about 150 days. It was around 130 days in the Western Province. We were not able to fill this gap with online classes due to lack of internet facilities in many parts of the country,” he said.

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