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Aug 2, 2011 11:42:08 AM - itnnews.lk

Samurdhi privileges are also to be accorded to the people of the North and the East. The Government has also finalized arrangements to launch a pension scheme for Samurdhi Development Officers.

Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that plans are afoot to grant Samurdhi privileges to the civilians of the North and the East who had been liberated from the terrorists. Addressing a media conference he said that the

The Economic Development Ministry will present a Cabinet paper to grant the ‘Samurdhi’ subsidy for the people of the North and the East who were not entitled to the subsidy scheme because of the three decade protracted war. He noted that the poverty ratio in Sri Lanka has declined to 7.5% in 2011 from 24% in the year 2000. The  Samurdhi Program has rendered yeoman service to alleviate poverty in Sri Lanka and priority has been given to activities such as development of rural infrastructure facilities, improving health and nutritional conditions among rural community and create opportunities through the programme.

In the meantime, the Deputy Minister said that a Pension Scheme will be launched for the Samurdhi Development Officers based on the Mahinda Chinthana Extended Version irrespective of views expressed by certain Trade Unions. At the Trade Union meeting, the President clearly clarified that Samurdhi Development Officers will not be made Samurdhi recipients but would assume the responsibility of their service. He said the cabinet paper has already been prepared and it would be taken before cabinet in the coming days. The Minister said that it had been found that some Trade Unions who are well aware of it were holding talks with the aim of gaining credit that the Government had fulfilled this demand because of them. But the Minister pointed out that the Government at this point wanted to ensure that it is its responsibility to assure their permanency.