Social Watch

The government is introducing a new law that will de-politicise welfare payments and improve targeting.
“People will no longer be able to claim benefits due to political connections,” Deputy Finance Minister Bandula Gunewardene told the media.

rnrn”The poorest of the poor who have no connections will now have a legal right to claim benefits.”

rnrnThe government spends Rs. 25 bn a year on various transfer payments, through the Samurdhi scheme, poor relief, Social Services Department, widows and orphans benefits as well as other services such as free school books and uniforms.

rnrnAbout 2 million households or 50 percent of the total households claim Samurdhi benefits.

rnrnBut both government and NGO estimates of poor households are around 26 percent.

rnrnBut officials say 20 percent of the poorest of the poor do not receive any benefits.

rnrnOfficials say there are large numbers of illegal claimants.

rnrn”In the southern province the Divisional Secretary granted a gun licence on the recom