Ahead of the last Presidential election, we read the President’s election manifesto, Mahinda Chinthanaya, and noted with rising hope the following paragraph:
“We will not allow the senior citizens who have sacrificed their lives for the children and the country to be isolated. Steps will be taken to increase pensions on par with increases in the salaries of government servants. Anomalies affecting all categories of pensioners will be removed to safeguard their dignity.”
This promise was welcomed by the country’s pensioners and their dependents, who have been suffering under difficult living conditions and spiralling costs. To date this promise has remained only a promise. Pension anomalies remain unresolved, and pensions still do not reflect the salary increases that government servants have been enjoying since January 1, 2006.
Since 2006, pensioners’ associations have been agitating to have this anomaly resolved. Various Ministers, the Prime Minister and the President himself have been reminded of this anomaly. The matter was finally referred to the Director General of Pensions, who has prepared a Cabinet paper in this connection. The matter has now been referred to a committee headed by Mr. Lionel Fernando.
Meanwhile, we pensioners and our dependents cannot understand why this anomaly has still not been rectified. Some 25,000 pensioners die each year, going to their graves with unfulfilled hopes.
We appeal to the President and the government authorities to sort out this matter without delay and allow pensioners to enjoy their last years with dignity and honour.