|Hon. Sajith Premadasa
Minister of Housing ,Construction & Culture Affairs
We are approaching the end of the third year of a massive housing development drive. Under the “Reawakened Villages” programme commenced during the post election period of 2015, work of 40 model villages was commenced during that year alone and the number was increased to 237 in 2016. Increasing that number up to 500 by the end of this year is no mean achievement. Presenting the report compiled on the basis of the island-wide housing survey conducted by the Ministry of Housing and Construction in 2016 to His Excellency the President, the Hon. Prime Minister and the Hon. Minister of Finance; we were able to draw the attention of the government to the profundity of the prevailing housing problem in the country. Accordingly, we formulated mid term housing development targets to ensure ‘Shelter for All’ by 2025, formulating housing development plans on a scientific footing on the basis of the findings of the above survey and took steps to finance housing programmes from the provisions of the treasury and donations from individual donators and foreign sources.
His Excellency the President Maithreepala Sirisena has designated 2017 as the year for the alleviation of poverty and in consonance with this concept, measures were initiated to launch “Grama Shakthi” housing assistance programme which extends, on non-recovery basis, financial support to address housing issues of the poorest sections of our society. Giving a further boost to this programme, the grant of Rs 600 million by the government of India to the ‘Grama Shakthi’ programme in response to a request made by me is an outstanding achievement. Using this grant, 1200 houses will be constructed on aid basis in 50 model villages countrywide. During the past 2½ years, 254,409 families have received benefits to various degrees on the back of diverse housing programmes implemented under the scope of the Ministry. They include amongst others the ‘Model Villages’, ‘scattered housing loans’, ‘material assistance for plastering’, ‘Grama Shakthi’, ‘Viru Sumithuru’, title deeds, ‘Sampath Sevana’, ‘ Sevana Gammana’, ‘Sevana Grant’, ‘Sonduru Piyasa’, Northern Province housing grant programme, Batticaloa district housing grant programme, Bogaswewa housing grant programme, Weioya sustainable integrated housing project, Monaragala Havanpitiya special grant project and middle class housing projects.
Under the model village programme, a village exclusively for police personnel, 2 youth villages, a village for women headed households, a village for blind people could be commenced. The dedicated housing programme for kidney patients and their families was further expanded during the year and houses were donated to several up and coming sportsmen. The guidance and patronage of His Excellency the President and the Prime Minister is the strong foundation of the contemporary housing drive. The allocation of additional provisions by the Hon. Minister of Finance through this budget is truly inspired us to aim for greater heights. Spurred on by all these incentives, our Ministry and all institutions under its purview will strive with renewed vigour to deliver more challenging services with greater efficacy andefficiency.
I wish to recall with gratitude the unwavering support received from my Deputy Minister Hon. Indika Bandaranayake, the Secretary to the Ministry Mrs. W.K.K. Athukorala and all other officials, and the heads of institutions affiliated to the Ministry and the entire staff for the success of all our programmes.