- PM proposal gets green light
- New decision expands coverage to 600,000 pensioners
Cabinet yesterday approved a proposal by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to extend the Agrahara insurance scheme to some 600,000 public sector pensioners, improve their access to healthcare and work to remove pension discrepancies. Under the earlier system only public sector officials who retired after 1 January 2016 were eligible for the Agrahara insurance scheme, which was about 10% of the overall number of retired State sector pensioners.
However, under the latest Cabinet decision, this will now be extended to as many as 600,000 pensioners from the public sector, the Prime Minister’s Media Division said in a press release.
The change will see public sector officials who went into retirement before the beginning of 2016 also drafted into the scheme. “This effort was proposed to ensure that senior citizens get a decent standard of life.
“As an additional measure the Government will also work to improve the facilities of regional hospitals so that each district hospital will have a ward dedicated to public sector retirees. This will also ensure that medical access is improved,” the statement added.
During the Cabinet meeting it was also brought to the Prime Minister’s attention that some pensions were as low as Rs. 20,000 and there were still discrepancies in the payment structure. Therefore an additional decision was made to instruct the National Salary Commission to find ways to remove these discrepancies and establish a more equitable pension system.