The fragmented social protection system in Sri Lanka has been in need of reform for many years. There is a need to reform many areas, including targeting and the delivery of benefits — areas we have, and continue to, stress the importance of.
The specific reforms that we prioritise may differ in the short and long term. The current economic crisis (which has thrown millions into poverty) has highlighted the gaps in the system. In this light, ensuring that the cash transfers are adequate to meet the needs of individuals and all those who need assistance are covered by the programme are key. However, the need to address deep-seeded issues such as the efficacy of programmes and graduation schemes must not be ignored.
These were among the topics I discussed at the ReformNow Conference organised on August 5 2022, by the Advocata Institute. I gave the opening presentation for the session on Social Safety Net Reform, and joined a panel discussion. Dr. Ganga Tilakaratna of the Institute of Policy Studies and Dr. Steven Kidd of Development Pathways were the other panelists, and the session was moderated by Sathya Karunarathne of the Advocata Institute. My slides can be found here.