Steep drop in Lanka’s poverty index | Daily News

Steep drop in Lanka’s poverty index

Sri Lanka’s poverty index was 22.7 percent in 2002. Today it is only 8.9 percent. But on the other hand, under-weight child births have increased to 16 percent. Over 20 percent of schoolchildren suffer from malnutrition. This is the result of negative changes of lifestyle. However Divineguma will stop this, Divineguma National Programme Director Jayatilleke Herath said yesterday.

Herath said Sri Lanka introduced many poverty alleviation programmes such as rice coupon (ration), Janasaviya, Samurdhi, etc in the past.

“They were not failures but all were social welfare programmes and the dependent mentality was always there,” he said.

Presenting statistics, he said Rs 173,277 million was spent to import food in 2011. “In 2010, we spent Rs 29,214 million to import milk powder. This figure rose to Rs 38,000 million by 2011. We spent Rs 9,475 million to import onions in 2011. Another Rs 1,6276 million was spent on importing canned fish. We can save all this money through Divineguma,” he said.

Herath said household economic units need to be established under the Divineguma National Programme because of the unhealthy lifestyle which penetrated into the country through the open economy introduced in 1977.

“This has affected the health and nutrition intake of the people . There was a drastic change in food and consumption habits in the family units due to the transformation in social, economic and cultural structures in the country during the last few decades. Child malnutrition went up rapidly as a result of these changes. Healthy and traditional habits such as drinking fresh milk, eating fresh vegetables picked up from the home garden etc will be promoted through Divineguma,” he said.


 

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