Written by Staff Writer
07 Mar, 2019 | 9:35 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Today’s parliament debate on the budget proposals for 2019, primarily focussed on the fisheries industry and education sector.
MP Mahinda Amaraweera noted that the farming community expected an increase in paddy prices through the 2019 budget. He pointed out that the fishing community is also not happy with the 2019 budget.
However, he welcomed the government’s proposal to allocate funds for freezers. He noted that the budget states that there are 1.4 million Samurdi beneficiaries and it proposes to further increase the number of beneficiaries by 600,000. He noted that this means that poverty in Sri Lanka has increased since 1994.
Amaraweera went onto noted that there is no country in the world that provides relief of this nature to reduce poverty and the poor must be supported through other means.
Responding to this the Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella said in terms of purchasing paddy, paddy warehouses are currently open in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and it is being purchased at government prices.
He noted that because of GSP plus, fisheries exports to the EU have increased by 14% and the 2019 budget also has provision for scholarships to international universities such as Oxford and Cambridge.
MP Kanchana Wijesekara noted that they welcome this proposal and do not oppose it. However, he noted that any university has a process in place when granting admission and regardless of the student becoming 1st, 2nd or 3rd islandwide, they must follow the respective university’s admission process.
He said these international universities have specific examinations. He noted that when implementing this proposal, if students other than those who obtained the highest marks are given scholarships, then there will be an issue.
Responding to this Minister Lakshman Kiriella noted that this proposal is very important. He noted the reason is that if there is a student who is eligible for such an opportunity, they will get it.
MP Wijesekara pointed out that the students in Sri Lanka follow the local advance level syllabus in Sinhala medium and the government claims that A/Level high rankers will receive a scholarship. However, he pointed out that there are many more examinations that they must face in order to be accepted by such universities.
Minister Kiriella noted that even though local student study A/Levels in Sinhala medium, they are accepted by British educational institutes and if a high ranked student is accepted by the University of Oxford or Cambridge, the Sri Lankan government will support them.
He noted that a non-interest loan of Rs. 1 million will be given to students who fail to obtain admission to local universities, so they could obtain a degree from a private university.
MP Wijesekara went onto note that the budget has allocated Rs. 300 million per electorate and your (Kiriella’s) ministry have been allocated Rs.460 million. Minister Kiriella requested the parliamentarian not to worry about it as Minister Mangala Samaraweera has allocated funds worth millions of rupees to construct the Kandy Expressway.
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