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‘People-friendly, development oriented budget’

Budget 2013 presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament on Thursday in his capacity as the Finance Minister is a people- friendly and development oriented budget, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said.

Expressing his view on Budget 2013, the minister told the Daily News the budget allocated Rs 125 billion for the health sector and this is the largest allocation made to this sector in the history of Sri Lanka.

“This proves that the present government is doing its best to upgrade the country’s free health service,”the minister said.

“This budget has provided a number of relief measures to all sectors in the country.

The allowance of public servants has been increased by Rs.1,500, while a livelihood allowance of Rs.5,000 has also been granted to the destitute July strikers, Rs.500 to pensioneers as a cost of living allowance and the provision of shoes and uniform material to school children are the some of greatest proposals presented by this budget,”he further stated.

“Budget 2013 is a budget which targets the development of the all sectors in the country. The budget provides a number of long term relief measures to all segments of the public from government servant to the July striker and pensioner,” Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne said.

“This can be described as a historic budget, with the largest allocation made by a Sri Lankan budget. This budget will help make Sri Lanka,a poverty free country,”he added.

“President Mahinda Rajapaksa granted many relief measures to the fisheries community through his previous budgets, by way of tax relief and introducing an insurance and pension scheme for fishermen. He granted the maximum support to the fisheries sector, while allocating massive amounts of funds for the development of the fisheries harbours”,the minister said.

“The President has paid much attention to the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation (CFC) and highly appreciates its achievements,the Minister said.

“President Mahinda Rajapaksa has provided huge massive relief to the fisheries sector through Budget 2013, by allocating Rs.20,000 million for the development activities of the fisheries harbours, Ceylon Fisheries Corporation (CFC) Chairman Maheel Senaratne said.

“This can be described as a very successful budget proposal. The CFC is very happy about the increased tax on imported canned fish. We think that this measure has been taken by the government to empower the canned fish industry in Sri Lanka, which was commenced by the CFC. Another proposal to reduce the tax on imported fish will be a great support to the local canned fish industry.”the chairman said.

“The aquaculture industry, inland water fish industry, canned fish,dry fish and Maldive fish industries will be further developed with the

relief measures granted through this budget and as an institute affiliated to the country’s fisheries sector, the CFC will do its best to achieve the President’s target to make Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia, Senaratne further stated.

Mahajana Eksath Peramuna General Secretary Karunathilake Dissanayake yesterday said the United People’s Freedom Alliance’s (UPFA) seventh budget is a development oriented one, prepared with the strategies which are essential to strengthen the country’s economy.

“This budget has provided tax relief to small and middle scale industries. This will strengthen the country’s economy when the economic downturn in certain Western countries seems to be getting worse.

“We,Sri Lankans have eradicated terrorism from the country under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and at the President has launched a massive countrywide development programme to make Sri Lanka the “Wonder of Asia, ”Dissanayake stated.

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane said this budget is a pro people budget which will have a positive effect on the agriculture sector.

He said through this budget, the government has taken a number of measures to promote organic fertilizer with the objective of reducing the usage of chemical fertilizer which has caused an increase the number of kidney patients,especially in the North Central Province.

“According to that the government has taken measures to give a certified price of Rs.40 for kilo of paddy cultivated using organic fertilizer and provide a 50 kilogramme bag of organic fertilizer at a certified price of Rs.400.” said the minister.

Further, he added that the government has also taken measures to stop the importation of a number of agro crops by 2015 and introduce a cultivation insurance scheme for farmers.

“Through this budget, the government has taken measures provide Rs.3.5 million subsidy for the re cultivation of an hectare to tea small holders. The government has also allocated money for the promotion of organic fertilizer usage for coconut cultivations and will provide 10 million coconut saplings for growers.” he said.

Coonstruction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa said President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented a budget which aims at development and enhancing public income.

North Central Province Chief Minister S.M.Ranjith Samarkoon said President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented a budget which would benefit the whole nation, specially with provisions to uplift the economy of farmers.

This is the first budget in the recent past, which will help the country reach self - sufficiency in food and expressed his gratitude to the President as the proposals, will be of great benefit to the North Central Province farmer community.

“President Rajapaksa presented a well- balanced budget which brings great relief to government servants and pensioners.

It is highly The decision to grant Rs 5000 to the poor victims of the July Strikers is most gratifying, Agrarian Services and Wildlife Deputy Minister S.M. Chandrasena told the Daily News. He said the budget proposals presented to Parliament is of tremendous benefit to the farmers who were severely affected by the prolonged drought and subsequent heavy rains in the recent past.

“The proposal to provide free seed paddy and postpone the collection of loans granted to farmers by state banks until harvesting time, providing fertilizer at a concessionary rate and introducing a farmers insurance scheme are welcome by the farmer community,” he added.


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