Jan 03, Colombo: Batticaloa District in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka has declared 2014 as the Economic Development Year, a government minister said.
Deputy Economic Minister M.L.A.M. Hisbullah has said that Batticaloa District is the poorest district in the country and that 2014 will be the Economic Development Year in the district.
He told the media that 20 percent of the population in the district lives below the poverty line and the efforts are being focused on reducing the poverty level to 5 percent.
According to Hisbullah, 12 percent of the population in the district lived under the poverty line during the war and it has increased to 20 percent in the last five years.
According to the national poverty statistics, all the districts except Batticaloa and Ampara in the Eastern Province reported significant poverty reductions since 2006/07.
However, the poverty level increased in Batticaloa district from a 10.7 percent in 2006/07 to 20.3 percent in 2009/10, the highest among all districts in the nation, according to the Household Income and Expenditure Survey.
The Minister said the government and the provincial authorities are working to reduce the percentage of people who live below the poverty line in the Batticaloa District.