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Govt. acknowledges difficulty in meeting deadlines

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With many of the main objectives listed in the 100-Day program of the government now running into unforeseen delays, senior figures in the government have become more cautious regarding meeting targeted deadlines that had been set earlier.

According to the 100-Day program, this month is set to be an extremely busy one for the government. On March 2, new election laws are due to be introduced while amendments to a change in the electoral system are to be placed before Parliament on March 17. This process, however, is almost certain to be delayed due to disagreements between the United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

The National Drug Policy is due to be adopted on March 18. Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has publically stated he would introduce the Draft National Drug Policy Bill in Parliament on March 4. The National Audit Bill is due to be passed on March 19 while the Right to Information Act is due to be passed in Parliament on March 20. The process of making appointments to and establishing Independent Commissions is due to begin on March 21 with the setting up of the Constitutional Council. The introduction of a Code of Conduct for Politicians meanwhile, has long missed its targeted deadline of February 2.

However, there are fears that many of these targets may not be achievable due to the disagreements that have cropped up regarding the introduction of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and instituting electoral reforms.

Minister of Mass Media and Chief Government Whip, Gayantha Karunathilake, when contacted said he still remained cautiously optimistic that targets will still be met within the 100-Day timeframe, though the dates may change.

Furthermore, regarding the Right to Information Act, he said, they gave opportunity to civil society organizations and media to express and include ideas regarding the Act and that the government hoped to present it to Parliament very soon.

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