Provinces

Provinces have existed in Sri Lanka since the 19th century. But they didn’t have any legal status until 1987 when the 13th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka established provincial councils following several decades of increasing demand for a decentralization of the Government of Sri Lanka.

The provincial council is an autonomous body and is not under any Ministry. It undertakes activities, which had earlier been undertaken by the Central Government Ministries, Departments, Corporations and Statutory Authorities. But importantly, land and police authorities are not given to provincial councils in practice. Between 1988 and 2006, the Northern and Eastern provinces were temporarily merged to form the North-East Province. Prior to 1987, a district-based civil service handled all administrative tasks, which had been in place since colonial times. Now a directly elected provincial council administers each province:

 

Administrative Divisions of Sri Lanka

Province

Capital

Area (kmĀ²)

Area
(sq mi)

Population

Central Kandy

5,674

2,191

2,423,966

Eastern Trincomalee

9,996

3,859

1,460,939

North Central Anuradhapura

10,714

4,137

1,104,664

Northern Jaffna

8,884

3,430

1,311,776

North Western Kurunegala

7,812

3,016

2,169,892

Sabaragamuwa Ratnapura

4,902

1,893

1,801,331

Southern Galle

5,559

2,146

2,278,271

Uva Badulla

8,488

3,277

1,177,358

Western Colombo

3,709

1,432

5,361,200

Sri Lanka

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