Oct 09, Colombo: The Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa has moved the controversial Divineguma bill brought to establish a Department of Divineguma Development in the parliament today.
The Divineguma Department Bill proposes the establishment of the new department by amalgamating the Samurdhi Authority, Southern Development Authority and the Udarata Development Authority to better achieve the grassroots economic development and alleviate poverty.
The bill aims to establish Divineguma Community based organizations at rural level and to provide for a coordinating network at the district level and national level and to establish Divineguma Community based banks and Divineguma Community based Banking Societies.
Under the proposed legislation, employees of the combining institutions and others connected with the Samurdhi Programme would get the highest dividends from the establishment of the new department.
The new Divi Neguma Department will absorb all the officers and employees of all the development authorities including more than 27,000 Samurdhi officers. All employees are eligible for pension.
However, when the Bill was presented to the parliament in August, it immediately drew opposition and was referred to the Supreme Court to determine its constitutionality.
The Supreme Court informed the parliament that the bill cannot be approved in the legislature without being sanctioned by provincial councils.
Following the Supreme Court directive the government presented the bill to the eight functioning provincial councils and to the Governor of the Northern Province where the PC government is not yet established after the end of the war.
The Bill has been approved by all eight provincial councils and the Governor of the Northern Province approved the Bill for that Province.
The Economic Development Minister has assured that the government introduced the Bill with the genuine intention of improving the living conditions of low-income groups and the public need not to have baseless fears.