Devolution of powers to the provinces will be considered under a unitary state, the Government said today.
Deputy Minister of Power and Energy, Ajith P. Perera said that the process to draft a new Constitution includes discussions on devolving powers to the provinces.
However he asserted that the unitary state of the country will not be compromised in the new Constitution, nor will the priority given to Buddhism.
The Deputy Minister said that all religions have accepted the priority given to Buddhism in Sri Lanka and this will be safeguarded in the new Constitution.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday submitted to the Constitutional Assembly reports from six sub-committees appointed to look at a new Constitution.
The six sub-committees were assigned to deliberate on the areas of Fundamental Rights, Judiciary, Law and Order, Public Finance, Public Service, and Centre-Periphery Relations.
The process to draft a new Constitution began in January 2016 with the appointment of the Public Representations Committee for Constitutional Reforms (PRC) by the Cabinet of Ministers to seek the views of the people.
The public consultation process was broadly structured to capture the needs and aspirations of the people through nation-wide consultations over several months. This mechanism paved the way for wide and active public participation and a culture of inclusiveness. The mandate of the PRC was to seek oral and written submissions from the public on constitutional reforms through public consultations throughout the country. The PRC held public consultations in all 25 administrative districts and considered a large volume of submissions made by members of the public.
In order to ensure that representations of the public are given due consideration as an integral part of the mandate for constitutional reform, the Report of the PRC was presented to all members of the Constitutional Assembly including the 21 members of the Steering Committee and the Sub-Committees for their consideration.
The Constitutional Assembly comprising all 225 Members of Parliament sits as a Committee which has the powers similar to a Committee of the whole Parliament. (Colombo Gazette)