Causes and Consequences of Poverty Targeting Failures: The Case of the Samurdhi Program in Sri Lanka

Nadeeka Damayanthi Madduma Bandara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The government of Sri Lanka has been implementing the Samurdhi program as a major poverty alleviation program since 1995. Among a number of criticisms on program implementation is mal-targeting or lack of proper targeting. This article examines why errors in targeting occured in the safety-net and livelihood development components of the Samurdhi program in Sri Lanka, and the subsequent effects on the poor as well as on the program itself. Forty focus group discussions with stakeholders in eight districts, interviews with four key informants, and documentary analysis were undertaken to achieve the study's objectives. Peoples’ dependency mentality, politicization of the society, and outdated income level cutoffs were identified as major reasons for mal-targeting. Major outcomes of the mal-targeting include disruptions to social harmony and decline in effectiveness of the program. Implications for public policy development are also discussed in this article.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-303
Number of pages23
JournalAsian Politics & Policy
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dependency mentality
  • Mal-targeting
  • Politicization
  • Samurdhi program
  • Sri Lanka

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