Nearly 190,000 appeals received on ‘Aswesuma’ welfare benefits scheme – State Minister

Nearly 190,000 appeals have been received thus far pertaining to the beneficiaries list of the ‘Aswesuma’ welfare benefits scheme, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said.

Accordingly, 188,794 appeals and 3,304 objections have been received thus far, Semasinghe clarified, adding that for any further inquiries, the general public can contact the hotline number ‘1924’ which is operational on weekdays from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
On 25 June, the State Minister announced that all relevant officials have been informed so that the people can hand over appeals and objections under the ‘Aswesuma’ social security scheme personally at the Divisional Secretariats across the island.

“The final beneficiary list of Aswesuma’ Social Welfare Programme is not been published yet & after evaluating the appeals and objections received Government Agents (GAs) and Assistant GAs will publish the final beneficiary list. If further injustice is found, the Welfare Benefits Board will intervene”, he said in a Twitter statement dated 24 June.

Meanwhile, on 25 June, the President’s Media Division (PMD) noted that the Government is paying close attention to certain parties’ attempts to satisfy their political needs by giving the ‘Aswasuma’ program a political façade.

However, the Government assured that any shortcomings in the process of selecting the relevant candidates will be rectified immediately and plans are being made to discuss this with the district secretaries, divisional secretaries, and other parties involved in the program in the coming week.

Joining the press conference held at the Presidential Media Center (PMC), State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe further said;

As a nation, we had to endure a massive economic depression in the recent past. As a main part of recovering the country from that situation, the ‘Aswesuma’ social welfare benefit program was initiated with the aim of providing the necessary contribution to the people who need economic stability, while protecting the poor and vulnerable groups of the population.

In general, there has always been a tendency in our country to rely on those benefits rather than empowering those who sign up for social welfare programs and boosting the economy. However, it must be noted that this program is one that goes above and beyond that.

The relevant candidates were selected in accordance with the Welfare Benefits Act No. 24 of 2001. The selection of these deserving candidates was done under six sections and related indicators. According to this, a list of the eligible beneficiaries was drafted. However, it should be noted that it is not the final list.

I ask any individual or family who believes they should be eligible for this benefit but whose name is not included in the list that has been published so far, to submit an appeal to the appropriate Divisional Secretariat Offices within the allotted time frame. Additionally, enquiries can be made if it contains the name of an ineligible person.

We request the people not to panic as a result of yielding to political instigation or external influences and not to join the agitation actions to fulfill the interests of certain political groups. Also, I request everyone to work accordingly with the system implemented by the Government.

However, we expect to prepare the final list of social welfare benefits candidates after the appeal period ends. President Ranil Wickremesinghe has advised us to prevent any injustice towards the ‘Aswesuma’ beneficiaries.

Among these, the list of beneficiaries receiving differently-abled, elderly, and kidney support allowances is also expected to be released in the near future.