25 March 2016 Current Affairs: Sri Lanka's much-awaited Right to Information (RTI) Bill was tabled in Parliament on 23 March ,2016 fulfilling an election promise of the Sirisena government.The bill's presentation had been delayed as the Northern Provincial Council had failed to pass the proposed draft in the Council on time.While presenting the draft bill to the Parliament, Minister of Mass Media and Parliamentary Reforms Gayantha Karunathilake said that he was pleased to present the draft bill in Parliament today, the birthday of the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Party leaders are to decide on its debating day later. The RTI was a key election pledge made by the Opposition coalition now in power when they challenged the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential election held in January 2015.Rajpaksa was defeated by Maithripala Sirisena in general elections last year.The Cabinet had approved it in December and thereafter was referred to the nine provincial councils for approval.Rejection by the provincial councils would have meant the requirement for it to be passed by two thirds majority in Parliament.Three of nine councils have approved the draft subject to amendments, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said on Wednesday.The Bill provides for the establishment of a Right to Information Commission and the appointment of information officers among other things to uphold the people's right to know.The civil society activists who were responsible for drafting the legislation said they would ensure an Act of the highest quality to guarantee the RTI.
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