Divi Neguma bill passed

The Divi Neguma Bill was passed in Parliament this evening with 160 votes in favour and 53 against it.

The opposition UNP, TNA and DNA voted against the bill while 11 members abstained.

The government expects to form the Divi Neguma Department bringing the Samurdhi Authority, Upcountry Development Authority and the Southern Development Authority under its umbrella.

According to state media, the government hopes to set up Divi Neguma community based organizations, Divi Neguma Community Based Banks and banking societies under this bill.

More than 10 Amendments were made to the Bill before it was presented to Parliament today.

The Supreme Court had earlier determined that several clauses of the Bill need to be passed by a special majority in Parliament while one clause that gives the authority to the minister to appoint administrative zones would require the approval of the people at a referendum unless it is amended to give that appointing authority to the Cabinet of Ministers.