Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 27 February 2011





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Strengthening rural economy:

Govt to develop one million houses

Minister Basil Rajapaksa on a visit to a home garden in Gampaha

In a bid to successfully face global economic recession and the predicted world economic crisis, Sri Lanka is now strengthening the rural economy, creating a solid base for the country to develop. The Government is to launch a program to develop one million domestic economic units islandwide, beginning from March under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. This mega development project is coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Development under the direct supervision of Minister Basil Rajapaksa and is implemented with the participation of 18 other ministries.

"Under the Mahinda Chinthana - the Government's vision for tomorrow - the goal is to establish resourceful, prosperous village units by bringing them to an economically vibrant and upgraded social levels," said R.A.A.K. Ranawaka, Additional Secretary (Rural Economy) of the Economic Development Ministry. "Through Gama Neguma the Government addressed many problems of the village and now the focus is turned to the family unit through this program," Ranawaka said. As he further explained, though the Sri Lankan family unit is still the base of the nation, weaknesses at certain points can be seen as it is also the most volatile unit that brushes against the economic crisis and the impending food shortage affecting the world. The time has come to cushion against the impact of the global economic crisis.

Natural disasters have affected the economy of many countries such as Chile, Brazil, Russia, India, Pakistan and Australia where they have been to major portions of food that is consumed on a daily basis. Many countries have either limits or bans exporting many essential food items in order to feed their own people. In Sri Lanka, due to the recent floods 150,000 acres of paddy lands have been destroyed. Thus it is high time for Sri Lanka to derive the best out of the cherished family unit.


The structure of the especial program is designed in such a way that families are fully supported in each locality. Explaining about the basic structure of the new program, Ranawaka said that in every village there are four government officials working at grass roots level i.e. the Grama Niladhari, the Samurdhi Officer, the Agrarian Services Officer and the Health Services Officer. These officials will be entrusted with the task of supporting 100 families from each Grama Niladhari Division in order to implement different projects. Performance will be monitored by an Additional Secretary in each Divisional Development Secretariat.

These projects will be formatted to suit areas and terrains that they are meant for. Families will be provided with fertiliser, plant material, equipment, technical advice and other utensils free of charge.

Progress of the implementation of the projects will be monitored by four officers who ill make frequent visits to families allocated to each of them and details of progress of the project will be recorded in a special format placed with each selected household. Shortcomings or problems such as crop damage and property loss will also be identified through these periodical inspection visits and remedial measures will be provided.


The earlier development framework 'Gama Neguma' was set up following Maga Neguma which focused on infrastructure development of a village. 'Gama Neguma' focused on economically empowering the village while providing infrastructure development wherever necessary. The new home economic unit program focuses mainly on four topics. One would be upgrading the nutrition levels of a family unit and second would be lowering the daily expenses of a family. Ensuring food security of the family and paving a path for additional income generation.

This would definitely strengthen the village economy and the life standard of its people. The setting up of one million domestic economic units, a key component of the program, aims to create economically strong and independent individuals cum families among other objectives.

The program is not only for home gardening. It also includes backyard animal husbandry, household industries, fishing etc. Coconut cultivation is one of the key components of the domestic home garden concept as coconut is vital in reducing the cost of living.

The program will be monitored and supervised by task forces at three levels - i.e. national, district and divisional levels. These teams will assist grass roots level officers to productively manage the project. "If villagers grow the type of crops sold in village fairs, there would be an unnecessary clash with vendors.

Thus 100 families of a village will work according to a plan benefiting the family as well as the village," he added.

"Though this sounds simple,it will be a very complicated task to run this effectively," Ranawaka explained. Considering the fact that developing these domestic economic units would be the ideal situation and most sustainable, he added.


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