Divi Neguma Bill passed with 107 majority

The Divi Neguma Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday with amendments by a majority of 107 votes. The bill received 160 votes in favour and 53 against. The United National Party, Democratic National Party and the Tamil National Alliance voted against the Bill.

Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, called for a division by name. Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne. who attended Parliament after almost six months was also present during the vote.

Winding up the debate, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa reiterated that no one would lose employment as a result of the Bill, which would form a separate department nullifying five other authorities. including the existing Samurdhi Authority.

"It was alleged that powers of the Provincial Councils will be reduced or taken away with the introduction of the Divi Neguma Department. I challenge those who are saying this to show how it happens. In fact, this will ensure powers at rural level and ensure jobs and other benefits of those Samurdhi officers," he added.

He also said the proposed amendment would incorporate a Provincial Councilor and a Pradeshiya Sabha member to the community based committee to be appointed under the Bill. According to Rajapaksa all possible amendments proposed by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, Ceylon Workers’ Congress and other parties representing estate workers and other UPFA constituents had been incorporated as much as possible. (SI)

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