Local News: A host of more financial and material benefits have been granted to low income and vulnerable families and individuals in the face of COVID – 19 outbreak.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed the Presidential Task Force established to administer essential services in the wake of spread of combat COVID – 19 that provision of Rs. 5000/= as a single payment to the low income families will ease the financial difficulties faced by them.
A circular signed by the Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundara on the concessions granted by the President and how they will be implemented was issued yesterday (30). The circular had been referred to the Secretaries of Ministries of Finance, Economic and Policy Development and Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government and all District and Divisional Secretaries. This relief programme will continue to operate until the priority programme to eliminate the novel Corona virus from Sri Lanka declared the completion of its mission.
One of the prime objectives of the priority programme is to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of civilian life, the Secretary to the President has highlighted in his circular. The Presidential Task Force had identified the necessity of re-integration of people who are affected due to the spread of the pathogen to the main stream.
Dr. Jayasundara stated that he had been instructed by the President to issue directives to all District and Divisional Secretaries to take all necessary measures to provide essential food items to the door step at a concessionary price.
Following are the declared concessions and the eligible groups.
1- Measures have been taken to pay Rs.5,000 each to all 416,764 senior citizen allowance recipients and to the recently registered 142,345 senior citizens.
2- An allowance of Rs. 5,000 will be provided to 84,071 disabled persons and 35,229 newly registered disabled persons.
3- A total of 160,675 farmers who are registered under the Farmers’ Insurance Scheme will also receive an allowance of Rs.5000 each.
4- An allowance of Rs. 5,000 will be paid to 25,320 kidney patients and 13,850 newly registered patients.
5- Thriposha and other nutritional supplements will be delivered directly to the residences of expectant mothers and families with malnourished children
6- Measures have been taken to provide Rs.5,000 each to all 1,798,655 Samurdhi recipients and to the recently registered 600,339 Samurdhi recipients by the Samurdhi Bank / Samurdhi Authority.
7- Payment of the pensions to 645,179 public officers.
8- Steps will be taken to pay the April salary for 1,500,000 Public Sector employees and loan payment deductions from salaries to be suspended until further notice.
9- Relief on lease instalments for 1,500,000 self-employed persons, including owners of three-wheelers, trucks, school buses and vans and self-employed motorists.
10- Reliefs will be provided for the private businesses that are not in a position to pay employees’ wages due to the prevailing economic hardships.
Those who do not belong to the above mentioned classification, but could be identified as at risk, will receive similar reliefs. This identification process will be conducted under the supervision of Public Health Inspectors, Social Services, Development, Samurdhi Development, Agricultural Research Development and Family Health Service Officers and District Secretaries.
The circular issued by the Secretary to the President stated that the District and Divisional Secretaries should take steps to directly distribute essential food items to individuals. In this process, officials have been asked to partner with Sathosa, Cooperatives and private traders in order to get a fair price for farmers without the interference of third parties.
The Secretary to the President said that the relevant officers should fulfil their respective duties under the guidance of the Presidential Task Force.