‘Poverty levels rose during former regime’ | Daily News


‘Poverty levels rose during former regime’

If the distribution of Samurdhi beneficiaries were increased during the Good Governance regime, it means that the poverty level of the country has increased, former Polonnaruwa District MP and deputy minister Siripala Gamlath said.

The aim of the Samurdhi programme is to gradually raise the living standards of the low-income groups and therefore it should be implemented in such a manner. But the poor were further pushed to poverty under the Good Governance regime, he said.

Gamlath was addressing several public rallies in Aralaganwila, Dimbulagala and Kalukelle on Saturday.

The former MP said that the country is in dire need of a new attitude in order to replace the current dependent mentality among the people.

He reiterated that the country is on a new path under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and people should rally round Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Sandhanaya to give it a two-thirds majority in Parliament at the forthcoming General Elections to enable the President to strengthen his development programme.

“The Government annually allocates Rs. 35 billion for the Samurdhi Development Programme. We should spend the taxpayers’ money correctly, said Gamlath.

“The 12 percent poverty index of this country in 2012 declined to a considerable level by 2015. However, it has changed today. Poverty increased due to the civil war which battered this country for nearly three decades. Poverty began to decline after the war ended. However, the programme implemented by Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa was aborted in 2015. The entire nation is suffering the consequences of his defeat in 2015,” Gamlath said.

“As a businessman at that time, I worked hard to be stable. I wanted to do something new. Accordingly, I introduced rice varieties without stones and sand. I did not imitate the others. I started my business to cater to the needs of the people. People should not depend on the government for everything. Everybody should try to rise on their own feet,” he said.

“Several issues that affect the residents of Dimbulagala, Welikanda, Aralaganwila, Mutugala, and Katuvanwila in Polonnaruwa have been identified. The main issue is the human–elephant conflict. Therefore, the matter will be discussed with the President after the forthcoming General Election and a permanent solution will be found thereafter.”

“People from low-income groups were selected and interviews were held throughout the country to provide them jobs under the 100,000 jobs programme. The laying of asphalt for 100,000 kilometres on rural roads has been started. Infrastructure development is an essential part in developing rural areas such as ours. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has well understood this necessity,” Gamlath said.

Former MP Jayasinghe Bandara and former Provincial Council Minister P.B. Rathnayake participated.

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