Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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Social welfare schemes go through reforms benefiting vulnerable groups

After a methodical review, the Government will soon overhaul the existing social welfare schemes and their benefits targeting delivery of subsidies to the poor and vulnerable communities.

The identification of needy recipients countrywide is to be made via a credible procedure while evaluating existing schemes without political differences or favouritism, Finance Ministry sources divulged.

The ministry is in the process of establishing transparent and objective criteria to identify recipients of welfare support to ensure that relief is received by the most deserving households, a senior official said.

The improved targeting will enable higher allocations to recipients and will be in the form of cash transfers directly to the bank account of the recipient. This scheme with a strong social safety network is expected to be implemented in the coming months, he disclosed.

The aim is to implement an adaptive social protection network system through use of the government’s and international financial agency funds which can quickly provide support to vulnerable groups and provide relief for communities affected by the economic crisis.

The assistance of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank has been mobilized through its repurpose project funds for emergency spending on social protection needs of these two affected poorest of the poor sectors.

The Welfare Benefit Board will introduce a new QR code system under Finance Ministry criteria soon for the identification of those in actual need of financial assistance due to the current economic crisis, among the recipients of Samurdhi, Elders’ and the Physical Disability allowances.

Chairman of the Welfare Benefit Board, B. Wijayarathne said it is estimated that nearly 3.9 million families will apply for this programme.

It will include the 1.75 million Samurdhi beneficiary families, around 416,000 elderly, about 72,000 disabled persons and about 49,000 other persons.

A data system is to facilitate the subsidy programme to the needy people in a targeted manner, he said adding that the aim is to evaluate the number of beneficiaries with all this data.

The exact amounts of cash subsidy for these vulnerable groups under this new scheme are yet to be decided, the official said.

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