President Ranil Wickremesinghe has instructed to expedite the programme to provide welfare benefits to 3.1 million low-income families in Sri Lanka.
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 this while attending a media briefing held this afternoon (06) at the Government Information Department Auditorium.
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.lk
By 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 organise 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.
For that, we need a data system. By receiving these applications, the data system is prepared. It is mandatory for the people who are currently receiving benefits to register for this. We have prepared a data system to do this transparently. The young people of the village have a great responsibility in this regard.
It is also possible to find out about the needy people of the rural level and educate them about them. Elderly people, people with disabilities, kidney patients, and destitute families are in some rural areas. All those people are included in this data system and taken care of by the welfare benefit board.
After the application is submitted, the officers of the Divisional Secretariat will go and investigate the families and take further action. There is a scoring system. Accordingly, they are included in the data system. In this process, if they are not selected, they can file an appeal, and if an ineligible person has entered the system, they can file an objection. This process is done to provide benefits in a transparent manner and not to cut down the allowances.
Chairman of the Welfare Benefit Board B. Wijayaratne, Director of the General Secretariat for the Disabled, Anuradha Herath, Director of the Elderly Secretariat, KG Lanarole and other officials were present at this occasion.
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