Government remembers the pensioners during elections only

There are around 550,000 pensioners who had retired prior to 2016. This has led to a huge disparity between the pensions of those who retired before and after 2016. Further these two groups of pensioners had been employed on the same scale and had received the same promotions and appointments during their service, yet due to this situation, there are great anomalies between the two sets of pensioners and the pensions they receive, the All Ceylon Government Pensioners United National Organisation pointed out.

 

Pensioners in this country, despite having served the country their whole life, are forced to take to the streets in protest against the unfair treatment they are dished out and their meagre pension payments. Adding insult to injury, in addition to receiving meagre pensions, in some cases pensioners lament that they do not even receive their pensions. However, the government seems to be least interested in helping them out. Political leaders, both in government and in the opposition, prefer beating drums about their own interests.

The All Ceylon Government Pensioners United National Organisation has urged the government to resolve pension anomalies expeditiously taking into consideration the difficulties pensioners face with the escalating cost of living. This organisation is the voice of the voiceless pensioners and they warn that if the government fails to provide these pensioners a favourable response early, further protests will be staged in order to highlight the gravity of the issue.

The All Ceylon Government Pensioners United National Organisation urged the government to take measures to resolve the pension anomalies of 2016 at least, before the elections are being held. They said uplifting the living standards and taking care of retired government servants is the responsibility of the government. The President of the All Ceylon Government Pensioners United National Organisation Siri Singappuli said although these pensioners who are old and weak are not at an age where they can engage in protests and hunger strikes, yet they would not hesitate even at the cost of their lives, if the government fails to take note of their grievances. He pointed out that the government only remembers the pensioners during elections. However, he warned that if the government fails to take note of the grievances of pensioners and provide them solutions, the All Ceylon Government Pensioners United National Organisation has the power to manipulate over a million votes. In this country election  victory is determined by a meter 200,000 to 300,000 vote difference. Therefore under such circumstances, the government should take note of the importance of the over million pensioners of this country who could in fact be the decisive factor in the next elections. They are an invaluable tool to the government and the government should be mindful as to keep them on their side.

The main document that determines pensions is the pensions is the 1934 pension code. This is the main document available today related to pensions. The decree issued under the signature of the British King in 1947, paragraphs 64 (1), (2) and 65 of the constitution stipulates that payment of pensions for retired government servants is the responsibility of the treasury. However, with the  1978 constitution, that situation changed and with time many complications began to arise. In 2002 and 2016 the free pensions rights was abolished because it was powerlessness. Due to the abolition of the free pension rights state pensioners have now split into two groups. One group are those who had retired prior to 2016 and who are enjoying their pension privileges, the other group  are those who have no claim to free pension as they have retired after 2016. There is also a great disparity between these two pensions.

AshWaru Colombo

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