The Samurdhi payment scheme introduced for low income families throughout the country has been changed with immediate effect to cut down additional administrative costs, reduce any corruption and to make the scheme efficient.
Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa said, Tuesday. That the payment has been increased by 33 per cent with effect from 1 April and now covers low income families throughout the country. The families in the Killinochchi, Mullaitivu and several Divisional Secretariat Divisions in the Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Jaffna district who were not included in the programme have now been included.
Referring to the increased Samurdhi payments the Minister said that beneficiaries who received a subsidy ranging from Rs. 250 to Rs. 615 will receive Rs. 750 while the subsidy of Rs. 900 has also been increased to Rs. 1200 and the subsidy of Rs. 1,500 will remain unchanged.
Under the new scheme the money will be deposited in the bank accounts of the Samurdhi recipients to encourage them to improve their saving habits. A credit card which could be used at CWE outlets also will be issued to the recipients.
The new scheme would enable Samurdhi workers to save their time taken to distribute Samurdhi coupons to 330 Samurdhi offices throughout the island annually. The Minister also said it would help save Rs. 4 million spent on printing and Rs. 1 million for auditing of the documents stored in Co-operative stores.
The Minister said that the Government has made an allocation of Rs. 42,648 million for the provision of subsidies to over 1.5 million Samurdhi beneficiaries around the country, including North and East. He said that when the population census is released, a full scale survey on the number of Samurdhi recipients islandwide will be carried out.
The Acting Minister of Mass Media and Information and the Deputy Minister of Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Samurdhi Director General Mrs. Chandra Wickremasinghe also addressed the media conference.