The demand by the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) for 6 percent GDP to be allocated in the 2013 budget was ignored by the government in the budget presented today.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that only 4.1% of the GDP will be allocated for education next year, a move which is bound to draw strong protests from university lecturers over the next few days.
Meanwhile the President also said that the tax on imported milk powder, imported liquor, airport and online visa tax and also the tax imposed on supermarkets with higher revenues, had been increased.
President Rajapaksa concluded the Budget 2013 speech by extending an invitation to UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, and other opposition parties to join hands with him.
2013 Budget highlights:
Government allocates Rs.1000 million for three year housing loan scheme for security forces personnel.
Government targets a US $ 100 billion GDP by year 2016 to make the country a middle income country.
Re-forestation will be carried out to increase the forest coverage up to 35%.
Guaranteed price for paddy will be increased to Rs.35 and Rs.37 per kg.
Interest on loans obtained by farmers in the drought stricken areas will be fully abolished.
In order to popularize the organic fertilizer the government will purchase the from the local producers at Rs 400 per bag and duty on items used for organic fertilizer will be removed.
Kelani River and Deduru Oya will diverted to provide irrigation facilities to North Western Province.
Rs 126 billion to provide drinking water facilities to1.58 million families in various districts including North and east.
Fallow paddy land will not be allowed to be reclaimed and if the owners do not engage in production it will be obtain under anda govi scheme.
No permit needed for Kithul and coconut tapping for the purpose of producing jaggery and other products in future.
Subsidy o tea small holders will be increased from Rs.300,000 to Rs.350,000 per hectare. Subsidy for New plantation will also be increased.
In order to increase the coconut and rubber productivity, plants will be given free of charge for replanting on lands up to 5 acres.
The fee on Motor vehicle revenue license will be increased from 2013.
Rs 300 million to improve indigenous medicinal systems.
Rs 100 million allocated to support media involved in tourism coverage.
Selling lands to foreigners will be completely prohibited.
All equipment needed by people with special abilities, will be made duty free.
Rs 900 million will be allocated for Provincial Teacher Training.
Additional allocation of Rs 4000 million will be made to enroll 5000 students additionally to universities as per Supreme Court order.
Heavy tax on Imported milk powder.
Urban housing allocation increased to Rs 750 million.
Allocation for research for university academics and medical professionals increased by Rs 250 million.
Nena Sala centres will be set up in every Grama Niladari Division utilizing the buildings of government and religious places.
Rs 200 million to implement the interest free loan to journalists and artistes in 2013.
Education sector allocated 4.1% of GDP – Rs 306 billion.
Sri Lankans working abroad to get Rs 250,000 housing loan at 10 % interest.
Supermarkets with revenues of over RS 50 million annually will be imposed NBT and VAT tax.
Airport tax and online visa tax will be increased by 10% and 5 % respectively.
All financial firms to pay 1% of their profits to National Insurance Fund.
Dairy farmers will be paid Rs 50 per litre of milk.
Senior citizens over 65 years will be paid livelihood allowance of Rs 5000 per month from January 2013.
Taxes on imported liquor will be increased by 25%.
Cost of Living allowance for pensioners will be increased by Rs.500/-.
Monthly allowance of minimum Rs 1500 will be paid to every public servant, of which Rs 750 will be paid as CoL allowance.