By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): The Government.is to spend a record Rs.206 bn on social welfare to assist the poor and vulnerable who are truly in need of assistance.
The government implements a new welfare programme with defined costs, timelines and number of recipients under the provisions of Welfare Benefits Board Act.
“This would be the largest expenditure on social welfare in post-independence Sri Lanka,” Cabinet Spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.
Unlike current welfare programmes, the proposed welfare programme is equipped with a mechanism to better target the most vulnerable groups in the society.
Around 3.1 million low-income families are expected to receive welfare benefits under this programme.
Multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have come on board to provide funding for this programme.
This program has been planned to cover all the districts of the country under the theme ‘Don’t Leave Anyone Behind’. State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe revealed
Under this programme the benefits will be available for the families or individuals receiving benefits under Samurdhi, Elderly Person, Disabled Person and Kidney Disease Assistance Program.
Also, people who are on the waiting list expecting subsidies as well as people who are affected by the current economic crisis and who are expecting government welfare benefits will also receive this benefit, the Minister revealed.
Minister also said that calling for applications have already started and the closing date has been extended to October 15.
The relevant application form can be downloaded via the www.wbb.gov.lkBy calling for new applications, the government hope to include all eligible beneficiaries and to provide benefits to all those who deserve benefits through the Social Welfare Benefit Board, the Minister further said.
Denying on the rumour that been circulating among the public regarding the cut-down of the allowances according to the agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he said the government needs organize the data in a correct system.
It needs to include the group who are currently receiving welfare benefits as well as the group who are not receiving welfare benefits but are expecting.
It is our expectation to gather all the information and give the allowance to the necessary, appropriate and correct individual.
We are united in the national responsibility that no one should be left behind. Currently there is a group receiving public assistance, welfare allowances and disability allowances. It is mandatory for them to be registered at the Divisional Secretariat.
At present, only a small group of beneficiaries have been registered. Therefore, we have extended the registration. Extending this date further means that the date of receiving the benefits will also be delayed. This should be done quickly.