Values and heritage are of prior importance when it comes to safeguarding Sri Lankan culture, according to President Maithripala Sirisena. Criticism against him when he tries to safeguard culture is an attempt to destroy the pride of our great nation.

“We should give higher significance to our values and heritage. All must unite in brotherhood to take our country forward”, said Sirisena addressing the Shilpa awards ceremony organized by the National Crafts Council.

The leading national awards event for Lankan cottage level crafts-folk, Shilpa awards aims at encouraging the Lankan craftsmen and recognising their contribution.

“As of now more than 21,000 craftsmen have registered with the National Crafts Council (NCC) and our target is to increase it to 23,000. The NCC has also completed many programs and projects this year to develop handicrafts and handicraftsmen of Sri Lanka. We also are planning to turn around the state-owned businesses under my Ministry within 2016”,  Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said.

More than 630 apprentice craftsmen received formal training in handicrafts through the Master Craftsmen Training Programme of NCC this year. NCC also plans to expand the number of trained craftsmen through 113 craft training centers under it. The strategic plan of NCC targets upgrading 18 craft villages and to establish more than 40 craft societies in the next two years. 1,900 craftsmen to be registered and issued with new craftsmen IDs.