The Cabinet has approved a proposed mechanism for a Multi-Purpose Development Task Force aimed at providing 100,000 jobs to under-qualified youth from low-income families.
Co-Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said selection criteria, training schedules and wages for the proposed task force have all been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
According to a Cabinet paper presented by Minister Chamal Rajapaksa on the task force, 100,000 youths from low-income families who have passed Grade 8 will be selected for the proposed services.
Gunawardena said selected youths will be given a six-month training before being employed in development projects and public services in their respective areas. The various jobs will earn these youth a wage of Rs. 30,000 or more.
The Cabinet has also decided to provide three types of fertilizers to paddy farmers free of charge starting in the upcoming ‘Yala’ Season.
Gunawardena said that Urea, Triple Superphosphate (TSP) and Muriate of Potash (MOP) fertilizers will be given to paddy farmers free of charge for up to two hectares .
Commenting on the shortage in fertilizers, he said Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance provided an explanation to the Cabinet on the causes behind the shortage.
According to the Prime Minister, said Gunawardena, the shortage is due to payments not being made to fertilizer importers in the last few years to the tune of some Rs 6 to 9 billion.
“Since the importers could not bring down fertilizers, the new government has made a payment of Rs 3 billion by allocating from the vote on accounts with much difficulty,” he added.