HRCSL to investigate Aswesuma welfare benefit programme.
By: Staff Writer
January 19, Colombo (LNW): The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has reached a decision to launch an investigation regarding the Aswesuma social welfare benefits programme.
HRCSL Commissioner Attorney Nimal Punchihewa said many complaints were filed in this regard, by individuals and organizations.
He said complaints were filed over the benefit not being granted to eligible groups, the fairness of certain eligibility criteria and the selection process.
Punchihewa said an investigation will be launched to determine if the guidelines were fair and if the selection process was carried out in a proper manner.
In the meantime, another 300,000 families have qualified to receive the Aswesuma welfare benefit, after considering 640,000 appeals and objections.
Acting Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said the number of families receiving the benefit has exceeded 1.7 million.
5,209 families who were receiving the benefit have also become ineligible, following objections and appeals.
The Acting Minister added that Aswesuma payments from last July to December will be released to the families that were selected as eligible to receive the benefit, before the next Aswesuma payment is released.
The Acting Finance Minister said that nearly 1.1 million appeals and objections were received and they will be considered as soon as possible.
Another 300,00 families have been deemed eligible for the Aswesuma scheme, Sri Lanka’s targeted welfare benefits program, its State Finance Minister said.
“300,000 new families have qualified to receive “Aswesuma” benefits after completion of 640,000 objections and appeals submitted out of 1 million,” Shehan Semasinghe said on X.
“Accordingly, the number of families who will now receive benefit will exceed 1.7 million.”Semasinghe said that back payments from July to December will be transferred to the bank accounts of the newly selected families “in the near future”.
He pointed out that 5,209 selected beneficiary families had become ineligible and another 2,567 families had moved down from their beneficiary category after reviewing appeals and objections.50,882 families have moved up in their beneficiary category, he said.
Sri Lanka’s government launched the Awesuma programme last year in response to allegations that the existing welfare scheme system was too politicized, with criticism specifically levelled at the Samurdhi scheme.