President outlines steps taken to battle COVID-19 whilst revitalising essential sectors | Daily News

President outlines steps taken to battle COVID-19 whilst revitalising essential sectors

Imposing the all-Island curfew gave rise to the debate whether life can take precedence over livelihoods. 

“We all aware that current curfew disrupts day-to-day life,” President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated. “But we as a nation are fighting against an invisible enemy.”

The President made these comments while addressing a number of key concerns regarding the COVID-19pandemic with the Principal Advisor to President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga on April 20. In this discussion, President outlined the steps taken to,

  • Prepare the country to confine people to homes;
  • Ensure the continuation of sectors such as agriculture that has a direct impact on people lives;
  • Safeguard economically challenged communities;
  • Maintain a continuous flow of essentials and essential services needed for everyday life. 

 

Prepare the country to confine people to homes

Price of dhal and canned fish were subsidized before curfew was imposed. Once curfew is imposed, people will need food items that can be easily stored such as the common food items as dhal and canned fish. 
 

Ensure the continuation of sectors such as agriculture that has a direct impact on people lives

Permission was granted to the farmers in Ampara, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and other areas to continue their agricultural activities.
 

Safeguard economically challenged communities

There is a significant population in the country that survives on daily wages. Three-wheeler drivers alone comprise 1.5 million of this group. In addition, factory workers and self-employed also falls to this category that will become vulnerable with prolonged curfew. Without their daily income, they will not be able to survive. 

The State after identifying hundreds of thousands who will be adversely affected, took measures under different criteria to provide as much relief as possible, including monetary aid. It was ensured that during this period these families will be able to meet their basic requirements. 

 

Maintain a continuous flow of essentials and essential services needed for everyday life

A special Task Force under the leadership of Mr. Basil Rajapaksa was formed. This Task Force created the mechanism to look into every aspect of day-to-day life of an ordinary citizen. 

In addition, salaries and pensions were paid on time and loan installments including that of personal loans were suspended. Furthermore, those who earn a daily income as three-wheeler drivers, school van drivers and bus drivers were provided with concessions on payment of lease. Assistance was also provided to private companies that were finding difficulty in meeting salary payments. 

Though there had been some criticism over delays, vulnerable segments have been looked after by carefully laid out mechanisms.



  
The State looked after a variety of sectors from three wheeler drivers to SME/Self Employed 
 

 

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