Hill Country Disability Group

Sri Lanka Government Policies

Q. What government policies inform services for people with disabilities?

There has been slow and steady progress of legislation to recognise and support people with disabilities in Sri Lanka. The difficulties with data collection and the lack of organised monitoring of progress makes it difficult to say what difference is actually being made.

These are the key legislative instruments relevant to disabled people:

1988 Public Administration Circular – 3% of vacancies in public services and public companies should be filled by people with disabilities "possessing requisite qualifications and whose disabilities would not be a hindrance to the performance of duties"

1992 Trust Fund Act for the Rehabilitation of the Visually Handicapped provides for education and training opportunities; financial assistance; housing provision and welfare schemes; marketing of products made by people with visual impairments; action to eliminate conditions which prevent gaining of equal rights and opportunities.

1996 Right of persons with Disabilities Act No. 28 established the National Council and the National Secretariat for Persons with Disabilities

1996 Social Security Board Act 17 provides for a pension and insurance for people with disabilities in the case of accidents or old age

1996 National Health Policy provides for the improvement of the quality of life: reducing preventable diseases, running health programs on disability and health measures to prevent disability. Also provides for early childhood development of children with disabilities in rehabilitation; and Development Centers with individual services, pre-schools, house visits, assistance devices, parental counselling and awareness for children suffering from acute and chronic mental illnesses

1997 General Educational Reforms introduced the inclusion of children who have disabilities in the ordinary classroom (an approach which started in the early 1970s). Changes in teaching, the curriculum, counselling, career guidance, school-based management and new strategies for teacher education, were all promoted to benefit children who have disabilities within inclusive education. Child assessment on entry to and continuously through primary school also helps to identify children with disability.

1999 Ranaviru Seva Act provides for the care and rehabilitation of members of the armed forces and police force who have become disabled in the line of duty

2003 National Disability Policy provides the most comprehensive and progressive and holistic framework in Sri Lanka to date, for equality and opportunity for people with disabilities. This policy promotes community-based rehabilitation (CBR) and partnership with NGOs.

Download the complete National Policy on Disability for Sri Lanka as a PDF file.

The CBR Programme aims at placing the responsibility for people with disabilities on the community. A "Rural Rehabilitation Committee" is established at the village level by social services officers (provided with 18 days training for this role). The Committees involve village officials, community members, trained volunteers, and members selected from families of people with disabilities. Awareness programmes help identify and recruit volunteers (trained for 12 days) who then identify people with disabilities through home visits, liaising with their families and the community to link people with disabilities to relevant health and social services.

Disability FAQs for Sri Lanka