By Chandani Kirinde
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is to take over as the Minister of Defence and a newly created Ministry of Technology shortly.
A new subjects and functions Gazette was issued by the President, bringing several institutions under these ministries while a new Ministry of Public Security too, has been created.
State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Rear Admiral Dr. Sarath Weerasekera, is expected to be appointed as its Cabinet Minister, the Daily FT learns.
This new Ministry will have four institutions under it, including the Police and the Civil Defence Department.
The Technology Ministry will have 10 institutions under its purview, including the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), and the Registrar of Persons Department.
With the enactment of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in October, the President can hold any number of Ministries. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was repealed by the 20th Amendment, prohibited the Executive from holding any ministry, including that of Defence.
Due to this, the President appointed Chamal Rajapaksa as the State Minister for Internal Security in August while no one was appointed as Defence Minister.
Chamal Rajapaksa also functioned as State Minister for Defence between November last year and August this year, the period between the election of the new President and the holding of the General Election.
The 2021 Budget had special emphasis on digital governance and bridging the digital divide in rural areas, whilst last week the Cabinet approved a host of new measures towards restructuring the ICTA under three branches to digitise ministries, improve services, set up regulatory frameworks, and attract investment; a presidential task force to oversee digital ID card implementation; green light to amend the Registration of Persons Act, and a commitment to complete the e-ID card program by December 2022