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* Sri Lanka's new Divi Neguma Department established for poverty alleviation to commence operations January 3
Wed, Dec 25, 2013, 11:05 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 25, Colombo: The Divi Neguma Department, a new department established by the Ministry of Economic Development to alleviate poverty in Sri Lanka will commence operations from Friday 03rd January 2014, the Ministry announced.

The Divi Neguma Department, established by amalgamating the Samurdhi Authority, Southern Development Authority and the Udarata Development Authority, is expected to raise the living standards of 1.8 million families and thereby benefit 5 million people.

The main objective of the new Divi Neguma Department is to make the island a poverty-free country by ensuring food security and providing microfinance, physical and social Infrastructure facilities for the poor to strengthen livelihoods and development at community level.

The Department was established following the passage of the Divi Neguma Development Act in parliament in January this year.

Under the Act, 27,000 employees of the Samurdhi Authority and the five affiliated organizations came under the Divi Neguma Department and became entitled to all the salaries and benefits given to other government employees.

The Divi Neguma program promotes home garden agriculture, livestock farming and cottage industries to better achieve the grassroots economic development and alleviate poverty in the country.

Under the Divi Neguma programme 12,533 cottage industries have started so far and about 30,000 small entrepreneurs have been trained for setting up such industries. A system has been introduced to provide the capital and financial facilities through State Banks to the individual entrepreneurs.

The livestock sector has seen much progress under Divi Neguma and thousands of farmers have newly entered this area increasing the production of eggs, milk and farmed fish.

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