The Sectoral Oversight Committee on International Relations took into discussion the need to prepare a special visa category for SAARC countries including India, Bangladesh and Maldives.
The following was taken into discussion at the Sectoral Oversight Committee on International Relations which met in Parliament under the chairmanship of Namal Rajapaksa, Member of Parliament.
• The Committee looks into starting an Internship Program under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• The Committee also focus on preparing a system for the Sri Lankans living abroad to vote
There was a discussion on Sri Lanka’s foreign policy on behalf of the SAARC countries and the Committee Chair Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, Member of Parliament pointed out that it is important to prepare a special visa category for the SAARC countries like India, Bangladesh and Maldives in the fields of education and health. As a result, he said that the Committee would propose to prepare a system of granting visas for these countries in a considerate manner.
The Committee proposed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to focus on preparing a system for starting internships for various programs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thus, the Committee pointed out that this program should be organized so that all sectors are represented and foreigners should also be able to join.
The officials present said that an internal training program is being implemented under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as per a circular. However, the Committee Chair Hon. Namal Rajapaksa pointed out that this program should be prepared as an open program in a more formal manner.
There was also a discussion about preparing a system for Sri Lankans living abroad to vote and the officials of the National Election Commission pointed out that the Election Commission is ready to prepare the necessary mechanism according to the new recommendation given by the legislature. They also pointed out that a method of registering to vote via online (on-line registration) technology has also been prepared, and Sri Lankans living abroad can also register to vote through it. Accordingly, Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, Member of Parliament pointed out that he will take necessary steps to prepare a system for this in consultation with the Honorable Speaker.
It was also discussed that several awareness and training programs should be organized under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Members of Parliament.
Hon. (Prof.) G. L. Peiris, Hon. Niroshan Perera, Hon. S.M.M Muszhaaraff, Hon. Akila Ellawala, Hon. Ms. Kokila Gunawardena, Hon. Yadamini Gunawardena, Hon. Madhura Withanage, Hon. Chandima Weerakkody were present at the Committee meeting held.