Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 25 March 2012





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Gama Neguma for 2012:

‘One work one village’ the theme

Sri Lanka has been a country of villages throughout history and the fact remains the same even now. The rural community will be the manufacturer of many goods in a continuous supply chain to the urban consumer. Government initiated projects such as the Divi Neguma, Gama Neguma, coordinated through the Economic Development Ministry, aims at catering to this crucial manufacturing rural community by uplifting them economically and socially.

During the past few years the contribution from regions outside the Western Province has increased dramatically marking a significant change in its contribution to national economy, said Nihal Somaweera, Additional Secretary for Regional Development in the Economic Development Ministry. “The Regional economy compulsorily should be well connected to the national economy. Though many development initiatives the Government provide various infrastructure for regional development to link the village economy to the national ecomony,” he said. “Finally everything must contribute to the national economy. Our responsibility is to try and get the best benefit of the regional development and link it with the National economy,” he added. Today the Divi Neguma and Gama Neguma have become major contributors in developing the rural economy.

Implemented through the Economic Development Ministry under the guidance of its Minister Basil Rajapaksa as per the vision of Mahinda Chinthana, the government plans to carry on these programs in a slightly different perspective this year. Gama Neguma 2012 was inaugurated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 23 at the auspicious time of 10.16 in the morning by starting the repair work of the Wewita irrigation tank in Wewita in Bandaragama electorate. The theme for this year’s Gama Neguma is ‘one work for one village’.

The development proposals came from the grass roots level. Minister Basil Rajapaksa visited all 25 Districts and in the presence of the District Coordination committees these development proposals were handed over to the political authority of that area to be implemented, Somaweera explained. According to him village level organisations like the Janasabha, forwarded their program proposals of their respective areas. The Grama Niladhari, Samurdhi officer of the village, work along with these leaders of the Jana Sabha.

14,000 projects

Totally 14,000 programs were approved by the Ministry following discussions with the District Development Committees. With the inauguration ceremony at Bandaragama electorate all these 14,000 development projects across the country were set afloat under the ‘one work for one village’ program. This follows a long process of collecting the proposals from village level which describes their choice of development work, which will be of their highest priorities. “Road development was with the heaviest demand. Work in minor irrigation systems and drinking water facilities are next in line. These are people’s choices,” Somaweera added.

Understanding the importance of the village unit, President Mahinda Rajapaksa taking over Presidency for the first time in 2005, instructed the Government to initiate a special program to uplift village communities. Thus, the Gama Neguma (Village uplift) was started in 2006 on par with the Mahinda Chinthana. These projects also improved the capacity of the regions to link with the mainstream of development. These have a catalytic role in boosting commercial activities in the villages thus making those communities a major contributor to national economy. The new approach of the Gama Neguma will strengthen the community participation in the rural development projects by pooling all resources to be utilised in village development.

Gama Neguma was launched in 119 poorest villages and extended to 4,000 GN Divisions in 2007. In 2008 and 2009 it was implemented with the exception of North and East and from 2010 the peaceful environment in the country enabled the implementation of the program throughout the island.


“The newly appointed graduates incorporated into Government initiated development programs will be assigned to monitor the implementation and progress of these activities,” Somaweera explained. Accordingly, each Grama Niladhari Division will have one such officer appointed. “As these are mainly development programs which would cost a maximum of around Rs. 1 million, these can be completed within few months except the minor irrigation works. As works on minor irrigation systems will be more technical and in certain situations prevailing in the locality would decide the implementation plan. For example, in certain areas the ‘wewa’ need to be free to supply water for the paddy cultivation if it is the season,” he explained.

The village level organisations are responsible to implement the programs. Planning and implementation is by the villagers and funds will be sent to the Divisional Secretaries and the village organisation will get the money for the program through the DS office. “A Treasury Circular gives us (Government service) the guidlines to select such village level organisation. It specifies by naming individual or umbrella organizations that are active at present at the grass roots level,” Somaweera explained.

Why a different approach?

“All these years the main focus of the development was the town – the urban centre. These got all the facilities and the rural areas were much neglected. “But it is in the village where goods are produced for the consumption of the urban community,” he explained.

The Gama Neguma started in developing the infrastructure of the villages at its inception to facilitate a continuous flow of goods to better markets from the village benefitting the villager. According to the Mahinda Chinthana, “To win the world, develop the country, to develop the country strengthen the village.” Farmers are highly benefited by facilitating the transportation of the agricultural inputs and products with extended market options promoting their turnover.

Moreover, the road network development reduced the travelling difficulties and resource waste. On the whole it has enhanced the connectivity by exposure to a broader arena bringing about positive changes and modifications in the socio-economic fabric.

The regional development is to promote equitable distribution of fruits, vegetables, rice and other crops and many other products for the local consumer market. “Government’s aim is to get maximum contribution to the national economy through the more back-ward regions,” Somaweera explained.

As he explained till recently the Western province contributed 50% to the total National economy. Today it has come down to 45%.

“This doesn’t mean the Western Province has failed but it shows that the other regions have started to contribute more and increase there share in the national economy,” he explained. For example with the Negenahira Navodaya program the entire Eastern Province has doubled its contribution to the national economy with the Government’s projects worth nearly Rs. 150 million.

We as a country aim at doubling the existing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) number by 2016.

Thus the Government has implemented a special program to initiate development work from 2010 till 2016.



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