International

90-member Cabinet in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday unveiled a 90-member Cabinet. All Ministers, including Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, in the outgoing government have been retained and 18 new faces added.

Sri Lanka follows the system of Executive Presidency. Prime Minister and Ministers are nominated by the President.

The strength of the Cabinet is one of the highest and among the new faces are representatives of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) that recently extended support to the President.

Basil Rajapaksa, brother of Mr. Rajapaksa, who is considered the key political strategist of his administration, has been reappointed as a Minister for Economic Development.

Mr. Rajapaksa has kept the crucial portfolios of Defence and Finance. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, another brother, continues to hold the position of Defence Secretary. Yet another brother, Chamal Rajapaksa, is the Speaker.

Hours after naming the government, the President presented the 2011 budget to Parliament. It aims at giving a boost to the economy in the post-conflict situation.

Mr. Rajapaksa proposed giving a major impetus to value addition of local industrial products, improving export earnings and also a wide range of concessions increasing outsourcing facilities for foreign business enterprises.

Appreciating the offer of India to build 50,000 houses for war displaced Tamil civilians in the North and East, Mr. Rajapaksa announced that his government would build 80,000 more houses for the nearly three lakh Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the next three years.

One million housing units will also be constructed within the next six years to meet the housing demand.

A statement by the government said the President in his budget unveiled plans for major investments in making Sri Lanka a trilingual country, increasing computer literacy by 75 per cent by 2016, improving educational research and educational facilities in universities, and expanding the tourism industry.

Felicitated

Separately, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh extended felicitations and good wishes to Mr. Rajapaksa on his assumption of office for a second term.

In a letter addressed to the President, the Prime Minister said he was confident that his second term in office would usher in a new era of peace, reconciliation and development for the people of Sri Lanka.

According to a statement by the Indian mission here, the Prime Minister also said he looked forward to working with Mr. Rajapaksa to further strengthen the multifaceted relations between the countries to the mutual good.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 1:11:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/90-member-Cabinet-in-Sri-Lanka/article15712467.ece

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