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The government will provide subsidised housing to needy migrant workers under its Rataviru Piyasa housing programme. Plans are afoot to build 1,000 such houses this year.
The programme is implemented in accordance with a proposal of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to help needy migrant workers and their families.
The government has allocated Rs. 100 million to initiate the programme.
Under the programme recipients will be provided with special concessionary loans to build houses. In addition the newly formed Rataviruwo Organisation which now has branches in all District Secretariat division will help migrant workers and their families to build houses by offering technical support, labour and other assistance.
'Rataviruwo, is an organisation comprising foreign employment authorities, relevant state officials and migrant workers and their families.
Formulated as a concept of Minister Dilan Perera, the organisation will strive to help the country's labour migrants and families fulfill their socio-economic needs.
The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment will implement the housing programme in partnership with Samurdhi banks which will provide concessionary loans.
The programme was launched under the auspices of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Foreign Employment Minister Dilan Perera and Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation and Deputy Minister for Finance and Planning Dr. Sarath Amunugama at Galagedera recently.
The first recipient under the subsidised housing programme was M. R. Rajani, a mother of three who would shortly fly to work in Saudi Arabia. Minister Rajapaksa laid the first stone to build the first house at a ceremony.
Another 172 and 25 migrant workers respectively were awarded with concessionary loans to build houses and start small businesses.
Sri Lanka's migrant worker fraternity numbering over 1.7 million is the country's largest foreign revenue earner.
Their remittances in 2012 surpassed an unprecedented US $6 billion (35 per cent of the country's foreign earnings). The annual outflow of labour migrants from the country exceeds 200,000.
Sri Lanka, housing subsidization, needy migrant workers
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