Kantale, Sri Lanka (January 4, 2024) – In a move likely to ignite further debate on public service recruitment, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to confirm the appointments of the multi-purpose development assistants (MPDAs) given by the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime.

Current President Ranil Wickrmasinghe has approved the permanent appointment of 219 MPDAs in Anuradhapura district. These appointments, finalized on December 29th by North Central Province Governor Mahipala Herath, prioritize youth from low-income families who were recently recruited as MPDAs.

This decision comes amidst ongoing controversy surrounding the selection process for MPDAs. A recent discussion organized by the Right to Life Human Rights Center in Kantale highlighted concerns about the alleged disregard for merit in public service appointments. Participants pointed out that the requirement for failing G.C.E. (Ordinary Level) for MPDA positions effectively excludes many well-qualified individuals.

Despite the debate, the Anuradhapura appointments provide crucial stability for these 219 MPDAs. The breakdown of positions includes 72 driver appointments, 18 health attendant appointments, 5 health phone operator roles, and placements in other provincial council ministries for the remaining individuals.

Governor Herath presided over the official ceremony, joined by North Central Province Chief Secretary Chandrasiri Bandara, Governor’s Secretary Vijaya Wanasinghe, Ministry Secretaries, Heads of Institutions, the Provincial Director of the Multi-Purpose Department, and Major A.M. Lasantha Kapila Kumara, among other dignitaries.

While these appointments offer positive news for underprivileged youth in Anuradhapura, the broader issue of meritocracy in public service recruitment remains a contentious topic. The Kantale discussion underscores the concerns of many who believe qualifications and experience should hold greater weight in selection processes.

It remains to be seen how this ongoing debate will influence future public service recruitment policies in Sri Lanka. For now, the 219 MPDAs in Anuradhapura can celebrate their hard-earned permanent positions, marking a significant step forward in their lives.

Unfortunately, there’s no readily available official figure for the total number of multi-purpose development assistants (MPDAs) appointed under the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka. However, we can piece together some information from various sources:

Initial recruitment: In 2021, the Multipurpose Development Task Force (MDTF) was established and announced the recruitment of 100,000 youth as MPDAs.

Incremental appointments: News reports and government announcements mention subsequent rounds of appointments, including:
June 2023: 49 MPDAs received appointment letters in the Colombo District.
October 2023: The Prime Minister instructed officials to expedite appointments for 4,780 pending MPDAs.
October 2023: The Prime Minister announced a plan to integrate 35,000 MDPAs into various departments.

Confirmation process: While recruitment occurred under Rajapaksa, the confirmation of appointments continued into the new government under Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Based on this information, it’s safe to say that the total number of MPDAs appointed under Rajapaksa’s government is likely in the tens of thousands, potentially exceeding 35,000. However, without a final official count, the exact figure remains uncertain.


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