Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has launched a five-day programme (January 15-20) to brief community leaders and government officers from top level to rural level on the government's national policy to eradicate poverty in the country. The programme will cover 324 Divisional secretariats, island-wide.
The Bill, which was debated in Parliament, and previously challenged in the Supreme Court, was passed on Tuesday
Minister Basil Rajapaksa called those who opposed the Divi Neguma Bill opponents of moves to eradicate poverty. They were the type of persons who had in the past opposed progressive measures such as free education, the Paddy Lands Act and the Employees Provident Fund. The masses would brand them traitors he said The minister emphasised this at a discussion with senior government officers and secretaries of ministries connected with Divi Neguma on the poverty-eradication programme for 2013 The establishment of the Divi Neguma Department would benefit 1.8 milion people island-wide and secure the pension rights of 27,000 employees of three institutions including the Samurdhi Authority.
Grama Niladharis, Samurdhi Officers, Assistant Agricultural Research Officers, family health workers, trainee graduates, religious leaders, people's representatives and rural community leaders in 14,008 Grama Seva divisions will be included in the programme to educate the public on Divi Neguma, according to the Minister. In this connection special attention would be paid to the agricultural, fisheries and livestock sectors.
Minister Basil Rajapaksa added that under this programme around 30,000 small scale entrepreneurs of the Industrial Sector would be trained and provided with the necessary capital through state banks. This will cover food products, soft drinks, leather goods, kitul and palmyrah products and garments among 16 sectors.
Dairy production, animal food production, poultry, grass lands and biogas units will be among 10 areas that would help to develop livestock resources thereby helping to supplement family income and also boost egg, milk and meat production. Cultivating marine plants and home gardening will be among 13 areas in which entrepreneurs will be provided with opportunities at domestic level.