ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 43

Pensioners: Don’t let it be said that they were allowed to die in peace

The Administrative Reforms Commission of 1987 (Sessional Paper VI) referred to “the sense of frustration and grievance which retired public officers appear to have, due to the rapidly rising cost of living which erodes the real value of pensions and the fact that in the large majority of cases, the monthly pension is the only source for income”. Therefore the government accepted in principle that with the revision of Public Service salaries, govt. pensions should also be increased. Public Service includes the Judicial, Police and Armed Services.

In 1997 when Public Service salaries were increased by about sixty percent the govt. pensions were increased by ten percent. This year (with effect from 01-01-2007) Public Service salaries have been increased by about 200%, e.g. in 1997 the monthly salary of the labour grade was Rs. 3,400 and this year it has been increased to Rs. 11,730. The initial monthly salary of the Executive Grade in 1997 was Rs. 7,225. This has been increased to Rs. 22,925, ie about 200%.

But this year pensions were increased by only 10%. Thereby a great injustice has been done to pensioners. Another discrimination is that while the public service was paid Rs.1,000 per month as Cost of Living Allowance, pensioners were paid only Rs.500. Why this discrimination?

I know of a retired Secretary to the Cabinet whose pension was less than that of his peon. He is now no more and I do not think that he will say anything from his grave as he was such a nice gentleman.

It is stated in the Mahinda Chinthanaya that relief for pensioners will be given by adjusting all the anomalies. According to the Daily News of 13-01-2007 this has been discussed in Parliament and the then Minister of Public Administration has stated, “The Government pledges to discuss this matter with the Treasury and provide relief to pensioners who have been subjected to injustice due to this anomaly.”

We understand that the National Salaries Commission is taking steps to amend the Public Administration circular relevant. We appeal to the new Minister of Public Administration to give the directives to the National Salaries Commission to increase the pension of pensioners by at least 50% till the pensions are revised in line with the 2007 salary scale so that a vital section of the senior citizens of this country will not say, “the kindest thing the Govt. has done to them is allowing them to die in peace”.
“Rajah Bhavatu Dammiko”

By A.W. Midigaspe, Battaramulla.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.