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* Cabinet approval to allocate over Rs.28 bn for new accelerated rural development program
Wed, Dec 25, 2019, 10:58 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 25, Colombo: The Government has decided to implement "Sapiri Gamak", a village development program designed to expand employment and livelihood opportunities through the development of rural facilities in order to improve the socio-economic status of the rural population.

Under the program based on the proposals made by the villagers, Rs. 2 million will be allocated for development projects in each village covering all 14,021 Grama Niladhari Divisions in the country.

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved to allocate Rs. 28,042 million to the Ministry of Finance in the year 2020 for the program which will commence from 1st January 2020.

The focus will be on development projects that will enhance the employment and livelihood opportunities of the rural population, especially the youth and women, to create self-employment and improve the income generation.

Under the 'Sapiri Gama' program, the government has identified nine priority areas in selecting projects. Infrastructure including rural roads, culverts, small bridges and anicuts will be developed. Priority will be given to establishment of storage facilities for agricultural production, rehabilitation of rural economic centers including Sathi Pola, Kadamandi and construction and renovation of small tanks, canals, ponds and agricultural wells.

In addition, priority will be given to community drinking water projects, development and modernization of rural health centers, provision of electricity, water and sanitation facilities for schools and physical infrastructure projects that will directly contribute to rural economic development.

The minimum budget for a project should be Rs.500,000 and maximum of Rs.2 million.

The specialty of this program is the identification and implementation of these development projects on a priority basis by a rural community committee consisting of local political representatives and villagers. Further, all government officials in the relevant Grama Niladhari Division should be involved in the projects. The Divisional Secretary shall appoint the Development Officer of the relevant Grama Niladhari Division as the convener of the committee.

The relevant committees should be established before the 27th of December and the relevant projects should be submitted to the District Secretary before 31st December.

Application for funds should be made before January 15, 2020 and the projects will be implemented through community based societies as soon as the funds are available. All the projects should be completed before 30th November, 2020 and it is the responsibility of District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries to complete projects on time.

The program is implemented on a proposal made by the Minister of Finance, Economic and Policy Development and the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and it is compulsory for all projects to be implemented in accordance with government approved procurement procedures and financial regulations.

This project is implemented with the objective of minimizing regional disparities in rural development in line with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's National Policy Framework titled 'Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor'.

The program is monitored nationally by the Department of Project Management and Monitoring under the Ministry of Finance and it is mandatory that the District Secretariats submit a project progress review report by 10th of every month.


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