Prof. Shirantha Heenkenda Dean of FHSS among 12 Member High Powered Task Force for Poverty Eradication and Livelihood Development

Prof. Shirantha Heenkenda dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Sri Jayawardenepura has been appointed as a member of the Board of Governors of the Institutes of Policy Studies and Task Force for Poverty Eradication and livelihood Development of Sri Lanka by the Honorable President Gothabaya Rajapaksha with effected form 22 nd February 2020.

The Former Head of the Department of Economics and Co-Chairperson of IIVCC; Prof. Shirantha Heenkenda obtained his BA Degree from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo and Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Development at Nagoya University in Japan.

He has worked as consultants and committee members in many projects initiated by Sri Lankan government including, Ministry of Medium & Small Scales Plantation Industries and Rural Human Resources Development (2005-2006), Ministry of Estate Infrastructure & Livestock Development (2006. -2007), Ministry of Livestock Development (2007-2008). He has served on the Board of Directors of National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) of Sri Lanka.

Ada Derana BIZ News on the Event (January, 29, 2020):

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a 12-member high-powered Task Force for Poverty Eradication and Livelihood Development through the issuance of an extraordinary gazette.

The Committee will be chaired by Retired Deputy Secretary to the Treasury S.B. Divarathne Esquire. The other members of the Task Force are Government Medical Officers’ Association President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, Retired Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy, University of Peradeniya Senior Lecturer Prof. H.M.W. Ariyarathna Herath, University of Sri Jayewardenepura’s Prof. Shirantha Heenkenda, University of Jaffna Senior Lecturer Dr. S.S. Sivakumar, retired District Secretary Nimal Abeysiri, Medical Consultant Dr. Sanjeewani Hapugoda, retired Major General Sumedha Perera, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s Gayathri Gunaruwan, E.W. Creasy and Company Executive Officer Sanjeewa Gunawardana and Nature’s Secrets Chairman Samantha Kumarasinghe.

The committee has been instructed to deliberate 13 areas of concerns, and compile a report within a period of one year.

Among the tasks assigned to the Task Force are; Implementation of programmes for supply of essential food items in order to ensure the food security of Samurdhi beneficiaries, Co-ordination Lanka Sathosa, CWE, Cooperative system and Mark-Fed in expanding the Network for the supply of foods and other essential items, Incentivizing and mobilizing local suppliers in supplying foods and other commodities at concessionary prices through the above retail Network, Establishing a network of authorized dealers at grass root level in order to expand the supply network through Lanka Sathosa, Coop-Fed and Mark-Fed and give priority for women’s entrepreneurship in the expansion of the said authorized dealers’ network.

The Task Force will Co-ordinate with the Ministry of Finance, Economy and Policy Development, Regional Development Bank, Samurdhi Bank, Cooperative Banks, Housing Development and Finance Corporation and Micro – Finance Institutions in providing financial facilities for the needy and low income earning communities prioritizing small scale business development, self-employment, cottage industries development initiatives and facilitating provision of financial facilities for the low-income recipients, Co-ordinate with the multi-purpose Task Force to ensure the availability of sustainable livelihood programmes for the 100,000 needy families identified in respect of the 100,000 employment programme.

The Task Force will also Co-ordinate with the Ministry of Lands, Lands Commissioner’s Department and ‘Bim Saviya’ program in providing long-term permits on 30-year lease basis for agricultural and business development to those identified from among the poor and low income earning people, coordinate with Local Government institutions, District Secretariats, Divisional Secretariats and other Government institutions to ensure these communities have been provided with facilities for the delivery of services at grass-root level and work with the Department of Wildlife and Divisional Secretariats in providing protection for the villages and cultivated lands from wild elephants.

The Task Force will also initiate necessary measures for the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs launched by the private sector to be linked as far as possible to the national program for the eradication of poverty is also anticipated.

The Task Force will also Co-ordinate with the relevant institution in mobilizing funding provided by various international bank and Funds in making this programme a success.

The President requires and directs all public officers and such other persons to whom the Task Force Poverty eradication and Livelihood Development may issue instructions or apply for assistance for information, to comply with such instructions, render all such assistance and furnish all such information as may properly be complied with, rendered and furnished, in that behalf.

And, president also directs the said Task Force to report to him all instances where any Government employee or an officer in any Ministry, Government Department, State Corporation or any such Institution who delay the performance of duties and fulfillment of responsibilities or fail to perform such duties and responsibilities to be entrusted by the said Task Force.

The gazette notification noted that, Poverty had been a major drawback in the country achieving its development goals for a secure and prosperous nation and that the need had arisen for strategies to be adopted for the empowerment of low-income communities based on a people-centric economy.