Oct 20, Colombo: Sri Lanka's major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance has been criticized by the government for opposing the controversial Divi Neguma Bill that has been aimed at streamlining poverty alleviation programs.
Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera, addressing a function, has said that the Tamil party is against the Divi Neguma programme that benefits hundreds of thousands of people to achieve narrow political aims.
The Minister has pointed out that Divi Neguma is meant to alleviate poverty and not a solution to the national problem of the country.
He has explained that the proposed legislation will grant pensions for 27,000 people while rectifying shortages in the Samurdhi programme, the current structure for poverty alleviation, and stressed the need to introduce the bill at this juncture.
TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran following the party's visit to India recently said that the Indian government was keeping a close watch on the controversial Divi Neguma Bill since the government through the bill was attempting to take over powers devolved to the provincial councils under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
A petition filed in the Supreme Court by the TNA challenging the authority of Governor of Northern Province to approve the Divi Neguma Bill is one of the 14 petitions filed against the Bill in the apex court.
The Minister further criticized the TNA for its refusal to participate in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) set up to formulate a solution to the ethnic issue.
Alleging that there is a power struggle in the TNA between a moderate faction and as well as a separatist faction, Minister Perera said the problems can be solved if they participate in the PSC.