Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda
Rajapaksa Wednesday inducted in his Cabinet four new ministers,
including main opposition UNP`s defector S B Dissanayake,
raising its strength to 41.
Apart from four new Cabinet ministers, six Deputies were
sworn in, nearly two weeks after Rajapaksa unveiled a
Among the new Cabinet ministers are Keheliya Rambukwella
(Mass Media and Communication) and Arumugam Thondaman
(Livestock and Rural Community Development).
Prof Tissa Vitharana, who heads a committee on
working out a devolution package for the Northern region, has
been appointed as the Minister of Technology and Research
while S B Dissanayake, who crossed over from the opposition
United National Party weeks before the April 8 General
elections, was given the post of the Cabinet Minister for
Among the Deputy Ministers sworn in today were Sarath
Amunugama (Finance and Planning), Mahindananda Aluthgamage
(Youth Affairs), Faizer Mustapha (Environment), M K D S
Gunarathna (Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs) and Jagath
Balasooriya (Labour Relations and Productivity Improvement).
In a minor reshuffle, Deputy minister of Media
Mervyn Silva has been shifted and made the Deputy Minister
The swearing in was followed by the inaugural Cabinet
meeting of the UPFA Government with President Rajapaksa as the
Chair, an official statement said.
Earlier on April 23, Rajapaksa administered oath of
office to 37 members of the Cabinet and 39 deputy ministers.
The new Cabinet is a sharply streamlined version of the
previous one which had a record 109 ministers.
The President has retained crucial portfolios like
Defence and Finance with him while appointing his brother
Basil Rajapaksa as the Economic Development Minister, a
newly-created portfolio with the mandate of reviving the
war-torn Tamil-dominated northern areas.