(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Cabinet Spokesman and Minister of Media, Transport and Highways, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said the proposal presented by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to establish a National People’s Council Secretariat in order to establish the ‘Jana Sabha’ (People’s Councils) system was approved by the cabinet of ministers at its meeting on Monday.
The government has focused on setting up Jana Sabhas for every Grama Seva division to enable the people living in it to make decisions about the affairs of their village together.
Accordingly, 14,022 rural Jan Sabhas, one for approximately 500 families, are to be established in the country.
It is proposed to establish these Jan Sabhas in the hope of a common gathering of all Sri Lankans regardless of race, religion, caste and political party color and it will provide an opportunity to solve the problems of the village apolitically, the Cabinet Spokesman said at the post-cabinet meeting media briefing held at the Government Information Department yesterday (11).
The cabinet at its meeting held Monday (10) approved the cabinet paper presented by President Ranil Wickramasinghe to establish a National Jana Sabha Secretariat in order to carry out the tasks of establishing these Jana Sabhas more efficiently and lead them.
A group led by former speaker Karu Jayasuriya and veteran journalist Victor Ivan have submitted the proposal to the cabinet led by President Ranil Wickramasinghe before Monday’s Cabinet meeting.
Called the discourse on reform, a set of proposals have been made regarding the re-establishment of the Jana Sabha system. Accordingly, in addition to the Jana Sabhas, a regional Jana Sabha management committee and a National People’s Assembly Secretariat will also be established.
This National People’s Assembly Secretariat is supposed to function as an independent institution.
In the event that a division needs to establish several Jan Sabhas, it is mentioned in the series of proposals that the relevant number can be decided after considering the recommendations of the Divisional Secretaries.
There should be a Jana Sabha Secretary to run the Jana Sabha in each Grama Seva division and for this purpose it has also been proposed to appoint an already recruited development officer.
All residents of the division over 16 years of age can participate in these assemblies.
These community councils are able to participate in the decision-making process by making recommendations and suggestions on development proposals related to the village to the provincial and central governments, community participation in the activities of local government institutions, community contribution in the implementation of government development policies and submission of ideas to the regional development committee.
It is also stated in the series of proposals that no political party system should be implemented in this system.
“This is a special turning point in today’s politics and in order to strengthen cooperative democracy, efforts should be made to establish it systematically up to the state’s support,” said the Minister of Media, Transport and Highways, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena yesterday (11) at the news conference held at the Government Information Department.
“Everyone unanimously agreed and commented that the mechanism will allow solving the problems of the respective provinces through a voluntary assembly system without any political, religious, caste, or caste discrimination in the entire country and creating a fairer social democracy,” he said.
The Cabinet Spokesman said the Cabinet Ministers requested the first opportunity to participate and discussions will be held with the civil organizations this week to further make this establishment effective and efficient.