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Retired Service Personnel Welfare Project- Agriculture

Retired Service Personnel Welfare Project - Agriculture

[May 04 2018]

 

Any service personnel from the tri forces can retire after completing 22 years of service. A majority of these veterans are aged between 42-45 years at the time of retirement. These personnel join the society as capable men and women who had served with commitment and loyalty towards protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of their motherland. Years of disciplined life in the military have given them a good physical and psychological condition and a constructive disposition.

Every retired security forces personnel leave the service carrying years of invaluable experience in many spheres of professional fields including engineering, technical and technological, medical, logistical, agricultural, construction, communication, mechanical, food preparation and catering etc.

To a developing country like Sri Lanka, human resource is one of the most valuable wealth. These personnel would have completed their formal years of education in schools at least up to GCE Ordinary Level. Since joining the tri forces they are provided with a highly professional training and also a continued training according to the branch which they are attached to. Many get the opportunity to obtain further professional training in foreign countries as well.

 

Such a national wealth should be utilized towards increasing productivity and achieving national development goals. It is in this concept that a project was launched to acquire the services of retired tri services, Police and Civil Defence Department personnel in sectors in keeping with their professional qualifications and expertise. The veterans' welfare programme is a carried out under a Presidential directive and the guidance of the State Minister of Defence Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene.

 

This project, implemented by the State Ministry of Defence, also includes involving these personnel in the agricultural sector in keeping with the national food production objectives. It will also serve two purposes by providing with an additional source of income to supplement the retirement benefits of these service veterans and also retain their expertise to fill national manpower demands.

 

The project also aims to uplift the economic standards of the retired War Heroes and their families through agro-based self-employment ventures and thereby acquire their contribution to the agro-economic development of the country.

Under the project, specialized training in new agricultural methods, use of modern equipment, irrigation management techniques, pest control, home gardening, storage, use of chemicals and pesticides etc. is provided for selected groups of personnel.

Significantly, the year 2018 has been pronounced as the year of Food Production and this veterans' empowerment project will allow these men and women to contribute their share in this national venture.

 

Under the project pension drawing retired personnel and spouses of War Heroes who receive their deceased husband's pension benefits are eligible to join as beneficiaries. They should also have at least 20 perches of home garden or land which could be utilized for agricultural purposes.

Initially 1000 beneficiaries will be selected for the project which will be increased in the following stages, planned to be expanded island wide.

The project is carried out by the State Ministry of Defence which will coordinate with other relevant agencies for training and acquiring inputs such as equipment and seeds etc. The Sanasa Bank will provide required funds for the commencement and continuation of the programme. Special concessionary loans up to a maximum of one million rupees will be facilitated for suitable agricultural ventures.

Selected beneficiaries will be provided with an initial training provided by the Agriculture Department at their Angunakolaplessa Training Centre. Thereafter they will be provided with specialized training at the Department's Gannoruwa, Anuradhapura, Batalagoda, and Kundasale Training Centres according to the agricultural preferences of each beneficiary.

In addition, beneficiaries will also be assisted by the Agricultural Officers of each Divisional Secretariat area during all stages of their agricultural activities. The initial training programme for a batch of 100 beneficiaries was successfully conducted at Angunakolapelessa from 21st to 23rd February, this year. This was followed by another training programme in Matale.

This multipurpose project has received a good response from the veteran community. Realizing the significance of the project, to achieve individual benefits and national goals, many veterans have eagerly signed up to begin another 'mission' in their lives. The aims to project will see each beneficiary become an entrepreneur and an active contributor of the agro-economic development of the country.

 

Those interested in joining the programme can contact the State Ministry of Defence and collect required information.

State Ministry of Defence,

15/5,

Baladaksha Mawatha,

Colombo 03

011 2451750

Website - www.smod.lk

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