The government has spent Rs. 144 billion on welfare benefits last year and as per the agreements with the IMF and World Bank Sri Lanka had agreed to spend a minimum of Rs. 187 billion annually on welfare benefits State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said.
Meanwhile, the government expects to spend Rs. 206 billion annually on ‘Aswesuma’ program, he said.
It has taken about 20 years to put in line a systematic and a transparent method to identify the underprivileged and those in need of welfare benefits, the State Minister added.
Out of the 982 770 appeals has been received thus far, significantly 650,000 appeals have been received by the individuals whose names are already in the published list.
Meanwhile the first payment will be made within this month for all candidates elected and who have not received objections or appeals, State Minister Shehan Semasinghe said.
Commencing from August 1st, those who could not apply for ‘Aswesuma” this year or failed to submit appeals will have another chance to do so, he added.
He expressed these views July (12) during a press conference themed ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’ held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC).
State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe further commented;
The time period given to all applicants whose names were not included in the list of ‘Aswesuma’ beneficiaries to file appeals terminated in July 10.
Accordingly 982 770 appeals and 62 368 objections has been received thus far.
Arrangements have been made to commence investigations pertaining to these appeals and objections received by the Divisional Secretaries under the supervision of District Secretaries.
Out of the 982 770 appeals that have been received thus far, significantly 650,000 appeals have been received by the individuals whose names are already in the published list demanding to upgrade their names from the category they are already in, to a category with more benefits. Only after investigating these appeals will a final decision will be made regarding which categories the benefits should be distributed under. They will either stay in the same category they have already been chosen or have their category modified.
In addition to this, only about 350,000 appeals have been received from those who have not been selected.
1287747 families already receiving ‘Samurdhi’ benefit have applied for ‘Aswesuma’. Out of them 70% (887 653) family units have been identified to be eligible to receive ‘Aswesuma’.
As per the directions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe it has been decided to execute the current list of beneficiaries receiving differently-abled, elderly, and kidney support allowances without subjecting to any change until a new system is implemented within a time period of 03-06 months.
We are working to make the first payment within this month for all candidates elected and who have not received objections or appeals.
We believed we would get more than 800,000 appeals. Accordingly, the appeals we have received thus far are within our estimated amount.
Accordingly, these appeals and objections will be promptly investigated and if the investigations reveal that he/ she/ family unit, is eligible to receive ‘Aswesuma’, their ‘Aswesuma’ allowance due on July, will be added to the August allowance and paid to that family.
Commencing from August 1st, those who could not apply for ‘Aswesuma” this year or failed to submit appeals will have another chance to do so.
‘Aswesuma’ hopes not to cut off any benefit received by low income groups or individuals receiving any form of welfare benefit but to enter all who eligible into the welfare system without losing anyone, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said.