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President recommences suspended scheme to give employment to 150,000

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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided to re-commence, without delay, the programme to provide employment opportunities to 150,000 persons that was halted due to the general election, President’s Media Division said in a media release yesterday.

It said: The number of unemployed graduates to be recruited is 50,000. For the remaining 100,000 jobs, candidates will be selected from families of the lowest strata of income earners in the society.

The programme to employ 50,000 graduates and 100,000 low-income earners was formulated within weeks after President Rajapaksa assuming office in November last year.

Shortlisting suitable candidates from applications received from graduates commenced in the first week of February. A Multi-Purpose Development Task Force was established to recruit 100,000 low-income earners. The objective of the programme is to transform Sri Lanka into a country free from poverty as per the “Saubhagyaye Dekma” policy statement of the President.

Chairman of the Election Commission directed to suspend the program to offer jobs for 150,000 unemployed persons following the announcement of the General Election 2020.

Accordingly, the programme was suspended. Immediately after the conclusion of the General election on the 5th of August, President Rajapaksa took measures to establish the executive of the Government adhering to the provisions given in the Chapter VIII of the Constitution.

The Prime Minister of the new government took oaths on Sunday, the 9th of August. The Secretary to the Prime Minister was appointed on the following day. A week after the election on August 12, both Cabinet ministers and state ministers were sworn in.  Secretaries to the Ministries were appointed on the following day (August 13). The inaugural parliamentary session will ceremonially commence on Thursday (20).  Following the formal establishment of the administration, the President has decided to implement the programme of providing 150,000 employment opportunities without any delay.

The relevant list of graduates eligible for employment will be published on the official website of the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government next Monday (17). The respective Ministry will commence sending letters of appointment to those who got selected immediately. Appointed candidates should report to their nearest Divisional Secretariat on September 02.

The programme to provide employment to 100,000 poorest of the poor will be implemented by the Task Force established solely for this purpose from 02nd, September.

 

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Foreign qualified medical students protest

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A group of foreign medical degree holders protested opposite the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (23) requesting that tangible measures be taken to conduct the Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) without further delay.

They alleged that over 1,500 students had been deprived of the opportunity to sit the examination due to the fault of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, which is now under investigation by a committee, appointed by Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi.

Photo: A section of the protesting students (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

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SJB insists referendum necessary besides 2/3 majority in Parliament

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Supreme Court moved against 20A

By Chitra Weerarathne

General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, yesterday (23) filed a petition in the Supreme Court stating that the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution was inconsistent with the Constitution. It requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament and approval by people at a referendum for passage, the SJV has argued.

The SJB says 20A violates people’s sovereignty and franchise enshrined in Article (3) and (4) of the Constitution.

The petitioner has argued that the provisions in clause 55 of the Bill are inconsistent with the public trust doctrine and the principle of checks and balances and would prejudicially affect public finance.

 The clause 54 of the Bill seeks to repeal Article 156 A of the Constitution, which provides constitutional recognition to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or corruption, the petition says.

 The petition says 20A seeks to repeal the prohibition on dual citizens being elected to Parliament and to the post of President.

The power of the Auditor General to audit the state institutions has been curtailed, the petition says, arguing that it could be detrimental to the economy.

It will be detrimental to the country if the Constitutional Council is replaced by a Parliamentary Council, the SJB General Secretary’s has contended in his petition.

Clause 20 (2) of the proposed 20A has restricted the powers of the Election Commission as regards the conduct of elections, the petitioner has argued.

The 20A states that an omission by the President could no longer be challenged through a fundamental rights violation petitions in the Supreme Court, the petitioner has said, adding that the Bill seeks to further enhance the powers of the President by allowing him to unilaterally remove the Prime Minister. The President would not be accountable to Parliament, the petition says.

The 20A would repeal Article 70/ (1) of the Constitution and enable the President to dissolve Parliament even immediately after a general election, the SJB General Secretary argues.

The respondent to the petition is the Attorney General.

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Lawyer Hijaz’s foundation received funds from banned foreign outfit – CID tells court

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By A.J.A.A beynayake and Kasuni Rebecca

The CID yesterday informed the Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage that Save the Pearls Trust run by lawyer Hijaz Hisbullah, now in custody for allegedly aiding and abetting one of the Easter Sunday bombers, had received Rs.13 million from a banned organisation named the Caliphate of Qatar.

The CID told court that according to the bank accounts of the trust the money had been received by it during the last few years and the police had launched an investigation to ascertain whether the funds had been used for terrorist activities.

The CID told court the investigation had been launched under the Money Laundering Act and a psychologist’s opinion had been sought on the book titled “Navarasam” found in a madrasa (school teaching Islam) run by Save the Pearls Trust in Puttalam.

The Magistrate order the CID to submit to court a Sinhala translation of the book and examine whether the contents of the book promoted terrorism.

The case will be taken up again on October 7.

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