President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday launched a new pension scheme for farmers that would provide more benefits than an earlier scheme.
The President launched the new pension scheme at a ceremony held in the Hambantota International Conference Center and symbolically presented pensions to 30 farmers representing all districts of the island.
Addressing the function President Rajapaksa said that his government secured the rights of farmers and provided a peaceful environment for them to do their cultivations without fear and as a result the country has now become self-sufficient with food.
The farmers' pension scheme is implemented in accordance with the proposal made by the President in the 2014 budget. The government has established a fund for the pension scheme and annually the government will contribute Rs. 1 billion to this fund. Contributions from the farmers and a part of the profit from the farmers' pension scheme will also be contributed to the fund. Farmers over 60 years will receive a monthly pension of Rs.1,000 and the farmers over 78 years will be paid a monthly allowance of Rs.5,000. Under the new pension scheme about 128,000 farmers over 63 years will receive benefits from this month. The government has allocated one billion rupees for this pension scheme.
According to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Dr. B.M.S. Batagoda the farmers will benefit more from the new scheme. It would raise the living standards of the farmers countrywide and give them extra benefits over the old scheme.
According to the official, 959,254 farmers island wide have contributed to the scheme and 128,659 farmers out of this number are eligible to receive the pension from this month.
Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, S.M. Chandrasena, Mahinda Amaraweera, and Geethanjana Gunawardena, and parliamentarians Namal Rajapaksa and Roshan Ranasinghe were also present on the occasion.