The UNF Government has slashed the monies voted for the President in the upcoming budget, precipitating another round of confrontation.
On the face of it, the cut is huge — with the President's funds being slashed from Rs. 3,709 million last year to Rs. 328.7 million this year.
But Presidential spokesman Harim Peiris quickly clarified the position saying the reduction of funds was in line with the removal of several key institutions which had functioned directly under the President. One of them was the office of the Commissioner General of Essential Services and the allocation to it was more than Rs. 2,200 million last year. The Commissioner General of Essential Services now functions under the Ministry of Rehabilitation.
The Presidential spokesman also said the funds in Friday's budget were only for nine months since the first three months were covered from the consolidated fund and the Vote on Account.
The move to slash the budget for the President and increase allocations for the Prime Minister and other ministries is also being seen as a direct bid to strengthen the hand of parliament.
Another significant feature in the budget to be presented by the new Finance Minister K. N. Choksy is the slashing of the huge defence expenditure from Rs. 63 billion last year to Rs. 50. 2 billion this year, largely because of current ceasefire and prospects for peace.
The other major issue in the country is the power crisis, but the allocation for the Power and Energy Ministry is also being cut from Rs. 16.7 billion last year to Rs. 10.3 billion this year, prompting speculation of large-scale privatisation in this key area.
Kandy Mayor Harinda Dunuwila says he has no intention of obtaining the ownership of the premises that houses the Kandy Municipal Council.
He was responding to a Sunday Times report which said a group of businessmen had claimed that the recent increase of taxes in the Kandy city was due to the re-location of the KMC office.
Mr. Dunuwila while denying the report about acquiring the building, said the taxeas had been revised this year after a considerable period.
The Sri Lanka Medical Association will address a number of medical issues at its 115th annual sessions to be held from the 20th to 24th of March at the Lanka Oberoi.
Some of the topics to be taken up at the medical sessions include drug prescription, tropical diseases, the impact of multiple births, the influence of positive family history on coronary heart disease, trends in the management of diabetes, HIV/AIDS, nutritional status in Sri Lanka, impact of violence on a child and men's health.
A number of specialists and guest lecturers will share their views on these topics with some areas being discussed in depth.
A session on the communicating skills and counselling skills during clinical enquiries will also be held. This subject would enable medical personnel to find out how they could break bad news to a patient which include conveying messages of death or serious illness.
Counselling for patients detected with HIV and victims of domestic violence will also be discussed.