Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs
By the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Buddhism in this country has been given the foremost place and whilst providing necessary provision to protect and foster Buddhasasana , protection of the rights of all religions has also been emphasized. In accordance with this concept in page twenty five of the manifesto for a Maithree governance and a stable country, it has been stated “The freedom of People of all religions to follow their religious beliefs should be assured”.
In order to achieve this objective, it has become the responsibility of the Ministry of Buddhasasana to implement suitable projects and to launch programmes which would be helpful for the development of social values in a manner which would cover the entire Sri Lankan society. Accordingly, among the Ministries in Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Buddhasasana spontaneously
Becomes a unique government institution.
The necessity for the building up of a country with citizens who are spiritually developed, is felt very strongly in the present era and that is why His Excellency the President is ceaselessly emphasizing the fact that what has to be done for the creation of a just society should be done without delay. The Ministry of Buddhasasana is engaged in a continuous mission to provide religious leadership to the people in order to propagate concepts which would promote unity and reconciliation among the ethnic groups.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Buddhasasana, in collaboration with the Department of Buddhist Affairs which is under it, is performing an immense service to achieve these objectives.
Main performance indicators of the Ministry of Buddhsasana,Religious & Cultural Affairs
- Re-structuring the Dhamma education network with a high profile which would develop positive concepts whilst providing a new dimension to strength then the link between the Buddhist places of worship and the people.
- Empowering all Buddhist places of worship with information technology and making them centers providing multi services.
- Making Buddhist places of worship net work attractive places which would attract local and foreign tourists.
- Re-structuring Buddhist places of worship to Buddhist centers with
- Systematic physical development for the modern generation whilst conserving the traditions.
- Propagating Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy
- Creating a virtuous country with a just society.
Main Divisions of the Ministry and their Functions
The Ministry of Buddhasasana comprises of 08 main divisions for the implementation of functions in order to reach the vision of being the dominant facilitator for the creation of a virtuous society with Buddhist ethics.They are,
- Administration division
- Development division
- Accounts division
- Poojabhoomy Development division
- Visa division
- Buddhasasana Fund
- Ministry Secretariat
- Deputy Ministers Secretariat
Management and monitoring of all human resources and physical resources of the Ministry to achieve the vision and the mission of the Ministry of Buddhsasana, are being carried out by the Administration Division. This division which is operative under the Additional Secretary (Administration and Finance), performs the following functions.
- All administrative functions of the Ministry.
- Maintaining the personal files of all employees, including the Staff officers.
- Administration of vehicles belonging to the Ministry.
- All maintenance and administrative activities of the Ministry building.
- Fulfilling the administrative functions and other needs of Ministry staff and Deputy Minister’s staff.
- Activities pertaining to the festivals which are being Conducted by the Ministry.
- Coordination and supervision of administrative activities of the Ministry Of Buddhasasana.
- Settlement of all official telephone bills of the Ministry.
- Settlement of assessment and electricity bills of the Ministry building.
- Functions relating to the cleanliness and security of the Ministry.
- Submitting of Cabinet Memorandums and taking action with regard to all Acts.
- Training and development of the staff.
The main objective of the Development division is to plan, monitor, implement and follow up action for creating a virtuous society with moral values by investing in programmes in accordance with government policies and financial provision provided for the revival of Buddhism by the Government budget. In order to reach these objectives, the following functions are being performed.
- Planning, implementing and monitoring, various development Projects which are being undertaken by the Ministry.
- Preparation of annual Action Plans.
- Progress review activities relevant to the Departments affiliated to the to the Ministry.
- Preparing Cabinet Papers pertaining to the subject of planning an development of the Ministry and activities relevant to the implementation of their decisions.
- Directing and monitoring the coordination of official duties relevant to all local/foreign construction projects implemented by the Ministry.
- Printing of books and preparing annual diaries.
- Coordinating and monitoring activities relevant to the subject of development in the Ministry and in Departments and Institutions affiliated to the Ministry.
- Coordination of activities pertaining to special projects which are being implemented under the initiative of the Ministry and outside Institutions.
- Maintaining the Information Unit of the Ministry, with necessary up-dating.
- Operating the web site of the Ministry with necessary up-dating.
- Coordinating and implementing various progrmmes carried out by the Ministry for religious co-existence.
- Coordinating the media activities of the Ministry.
Poojabhoomy Development Division
Poojabhomy development based on religious and social services carried by respective places of worship, identified as places of worship with archeological evidence and historical importance at regional levels, declared under the Town and Country Planning Act No. 15 of 1946, is being carried out by this Division.
Accordingly, the main function is providing financial assistance for the development of places of worship, taking into consideration their religious importance, archeological and environmental importance, historical importance, cultural importance and economic and social factors.
1. Issue of letters recommending visa for the clergy and laymen who are coming from foreign countries for religious activities. (Arrival visa and recommendations for providing residential visa extensions).
2. Issue of letters recommending visa for Bhikkus residing here and abroad
3. Registration of organizations, which are organizing pilgrimages to India.
4. Issuing recommendations for visa for pilgrimages to India.
5. Investigating complaints received regarding pilgrimages to India.
Buddhasasana Fund has been established under the provisions of Buddhasasana Act No.35 of 1990 with the objective of collecting and formulating funds to protect and foster Buddhasasana. Funds received from whatever sources, whether local or foreign, are being invested to consolidate the protection of the Buddhasasana, in a manner considered as most appropriate. The administration and management of the Fund, has been vested to the Administrative Board.