Economic development with thrust on education: Finance Minister

Jan 02, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake says there will be sustained economic development in the new year with a thrust on education spending.

A new health insurance policy and more infrastructure spending are among the significant proposals being implemented in education, he said.

Over 4.5 million children between the ages of 5 and 19 will receive a free health insurance policy worth 200,000 rupees per annum irrespective of the number of children in a family.

This will cover both in and outpatient services subject to a maximum of 100,000 rupees for hospitalization and 10,000 rupees for outpatient services.

“The major significance of this scheme is it covers all the students whether they study in the government or private schools,” Karunanayake said in a statement.

This adds to five welfare programmes for students of free text books and uniforms, a mid day meal, glass of milk and distribution of shoes to children who need it.

President Maithripala Sirisena has directed that no schools should have a shortage of basic needs such as desks and chairs, and that the government plans to provide basic facilities such as electricity, sanitation and water to further 1,500 schools in the year 2017 with an additional allocation of 7,000 million rupees, the statement said.

The government increased the allocation to the Ministry of Education by three fold in 2016, compared with 2014, and 61 billion rupees worth of capital projects will be implemented in 2017 to complete the basic needs of all schools in the country, he added.

Treasury Secretary R.H.S. Samarathunge said that as allocations have been made based on action plans submitted by the respective line ministries, all projects earmarked for augmentation of the facilities in schools would be carried out on time.

A transfer of funds to projects that are not in their action plans will not be allowed under any circumstances in future, he added.