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64 Indian funded development projects implemented in Sri Lanka

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Third phase MoU signed on Tuesday

In terms of the ongoing High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP), a total of 64 schemes worth approximately Sri Lankan Rs. 20 bn as aid from Government of India have been implemented in Sri Lanka, the Indian HC said in a statement issued yesterday (11).

As per the new framework MoU for the third phase, signed on Tuesday, individual developmental projects costing up to Rs 300 million in social sectors such as health, education, water, sanitation, agriculture etc., could be implemented. The total outlay of all such projects at any given time was up to Rs 5 bn.

The MoU was signed by High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay and Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle at Temple Trees in the presence of Prime Minister

The following is the text of HC statement: “The extension of the ongoing MoU on HICDP for another five years had been announced during the Virtual Bilateral Summit between Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on 26 September 2020.

“It had been also agreed during the Virtual Bilateral Summit to deepen and broadbase the HICDP projects currently undertaken in each of Sri Lanka’s 25 districts. These projects shall relate chiefly to socio-economic development, livelihood support, conservation of environmental and cultural heritage, empowerment of women, child welfare and facilitation of community life, particularly through the creation of infrastructure in the education, health, agriculture or community development sectors. The Ministry of Finance is the nodal Ministry for implementing the HICDP scheme on the Sri Lankan side.

“Presently, 21 projects covering all provinces viz., Northern, North-Central, North-Western, Western, Southern, Central, Uva, Sabaragamuva and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka are being undertaken under the MOU. They include construction of primary schools and colleges, vocational training institutes, Universities, hospitals, rural sanitation, cultural heritage, rain water harvesting, social housing for poor, agricultural warehousing, tourism and civil aviation infrastructure support.

“The HICDP scheme has been designed to contribute to the developmental aspirations and needs of Sri Lanka. The projects undertaken are always demand-driven and entirely based on the requirements of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka. Further, all overheads and administrative costs for implementing these projects, as indeed any other projects under Government of India grant, are absorbed separately by Government of India and are not included in the project outlay.  The scheme is entirely on-budget and implemented through various line Ministries of Sri Lanka, thereby indicating the depth of our development cooperation with Sri Lanka. HICDP reflects the abiding commitment of India to work closely with the Government and people of Sri Lanka for shared progress and prosperity.

In a conversation with Prime Minister Rajapaksa, after the signing ceremony, High Commissioner Baglay conveyed his greetings to the Prime Minister on the upcoming festival of Deepawali and also referred to the Navratri Puja celebrations held recently at Temple Trees.”



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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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