Special Government Program for the Welfare of Retired War Heroes

  • War Heroes living in War Hero Villages will receive freehold Land Deeds under the “Urumaya” National Program.
  • The country’s unity was once threatened by terrorism and severe economic collapse.
  • The opportunity to develop the country exists today because the war heroes of the past protected the nation – Says President at the inauguration of the Sri Lanka Ex-Servicemen’s Association headquarters complex.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced the implementation of a new program aimed at improving the living conditions of retired security forces members.

The President highlighted that, in the absence of a dedicated program, some veterans have faced difficult situations. Consequently, the President has directed the State Minister of Defence, the Ministry of Defence, and the Ranaviru Seva Authority to give special attention to this matter.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe made this statement (22), during the inauguration of the headquarters complex of the Sri Lanka Ex-Servicemen’s Association, also known as the ‘Home of Veterans,’ located at Defence Ministry Avenue, Akuregoda, Battaramulla.

The President emphasized the government’s commitment to the welfare of retired war heroes, announcing that those residing in war hero villages will be granted free land rights under the ‘Urumaya’ National Program.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe also revealed plans to introduce Special Provisions for the Defence Act, legalize the National Defence Council, and establish the Armed Forces Committee.

Additionally, he announced the establishment of the Sri Lanka Institute of Strategic Studies, which will offer opportunities for active service members, retirees, and civilians to study war tactics.

During the inauguration of the Sri Lanka Ex-Servicemen’s Association headquarters complex, President Ranil Wickremesinghe unveiled the commemorative plaque and conducted an observation tour of the facility.

To commemorate this event, Major General Upul Perera, President of the Sri Lanka Ex-Servicemen’s Association, presented a commemorative gift to the President.

To support the welfare of retired war heroes from the three armed forces, the headquarters building was constructed with financial contributions from both the association and the armed forces. The association, established in 1944 by military personnel who retired at the end of the Second World War, spearheaded this initiative.

Addressing the event, President Wickremesinghe further stated:

‘This building has been constructed to support the activities of retired security forces members, many of whom made significant sacrifices to protect the country’s unity and territorial integrity from 1983 to 2009.

The government is dedicated to addressing the challenges faced by the members of the Sri Lanka Ex-Servicemen’s Association and other retired government employees.

While we currently face economic difficulties, we are confident in our ability to recover within the next two years.

I learned that the war heroes living in the war hero villages have not yet received their land rights. Promises were made but not fulfilled. Therefore, a committee comprising the President’s Secretary, the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, the Chairman of the Ranaviru Seva Authority, and the Land Commissioner has been appointed to complete this task within the next two months and issue freehold deeds to all under the ‘Urumaya’ National Program. Consequently, we are confident that the work will be completed by July.

Additionally, we have focused on the future of the armed forces and national security. A separate advisory committee has been appointed to develop the necessary security program through 2030. I anticipate receiving the report soon, after which everyone will have the opportunity to review and provide feedback.

By 2030, we must be prepared to address emerging national security challenges. The responsibilities of the Tri-forces should be clearly defined and the country’s resources should be utilized according to a well-structured plan. I also intend to introduce the Special Protection Provisions Act.

The establishment of the National Security Council, as highlighted in the Easter Sunday commission, is essential and will be legalized along with the appointment of the Armed Forces Committee.

Additionally, we will establish the Sri Lanka Institute of Strategic Studies, which will offer military tactics education to those in the armed services, retirees, and civilians. Interested individuals can participate in these programs. This initiative will coincide with the on-going restructuring of the security forces.

It’s undeniable that retirees bore the brunt of the challenges during the recent difficult period. We need to explore what concessions can be offered to each sector.

The current system of providing one pension per rank is already functioning. However, we are actively seeking input and suggestions regarding the welfare initiatives of this association and the Ranaviru Seva Authority. Efforts are underway to implement welfare programs through the Ranaviru Seva Authority.

We’ve also directed our attention towards those who are retiring from service. It’s crucial for them to explore avenues for creating new sources of income. Regrettably, some have opted to seek opportunities in Russia due to the lack of opportunities domestically. It’s imperative that individuals, according to their capabilities, are provided opportunities to earn a sustainable income, whether within the country or abroad. To address this, I’ve instructed the State Minister of Defence, the Ministry of Defence, and the Ranaviru Seva Authority to collaborate on proposing a special program.

Our retiring military personnel possess unique skills and talents. As the country’s economy continues to develop, it’s essential to offer them new avenues for growth. Today, we have the chance to foster economic development thanks to the sacrifices made by the war heroes of the past.

Today, we’ve initiated this program following the cessation of yet another conflict. Terrorism posed a significant threat to our nation’s unity, alongside a profound economic downturn. If this trend persists, we risk facing a fate akin to that of Libya—a nation devoid of a functioning economy.

Upon assuming office, my foremost priority was to fortify our economy. Decisions concerning the nation’s economic trajectory for the next 4 to 5 years needed to be expedited. Just as in times of war, where swift strategic action is imperative to achieve victory, we must adopt a similar approach in revitalizing our economy.

Upon assuming leadership, my primary objective was to bolster the nation’s economy. Additionally, decisions pertaining to the country’s economic trajectory over the next 4 to 5 years needed to be promptly addressed. Just as in times of war, where prolonging conflict is deemed detrimental and strategic resolution (Shock treatment) is imperative, we must apply similar principles to both warfare and economic development.

Our nation is currently experiencing economic recovery. Negotiations are underway with our creditors to secure full discharge from bankruptcy. The committee overseeing these discussions, along with China, is prepared to engage and accept our proposals, a move already endorsed by the International Monetary Fund. Subsequent agreements will be signed with these countries, while private creditors, banks, and pension funds are urged to negotiate and reach consensus, buoyed by the IMF’s approval.

Private creditors, banks, and pension funds are urged to engage in negotiations and reach agreements, facilitated by the endorsement of the International Monetary Fund. These discussions will progress once IMF representatives visit our country in June. Subsequently, the program will be integrated into the 2025 budget, slated for presentation in January or February amid on-going elections.

The economic growth resulting from these initiatives holds promise for enhancing people’s income. I extend my gratitude to all retirees for their steadfast efforts and wish the Ex-Servicemen a prosperous future.

The event was attended by State Minister of Defence Pramitha Bandara Thennakoon, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, Secretary of Defence Ministry General Kamal Gunaratne (Retired), Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Vikum Liyanage, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, Air Force Commander Air Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa, and other distinguished guests, including members of the Sri Lanka Ex-Servicemen’s Association.