Cabinet approves memo presented by Prez

The cabinet memo presented by President Maithripala Sirisena to pay full salary and full pension to disabled soldiers have been approved by the cabinet yesterday, the Daily Mirror learns.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera had submitted observations of the Finance Ministry for the proposal.

The cabinet paper was first presented to the cabinet the last 17th and differed for yesterday’s cabinet meeting for Finance Ministry observations.

It is expected that the ten-day trade union action launched by disabled soldiers would come to an end after the happy news.

Meanwhile, saying that the nation was indebted forever to war heroes for saving the country from separatist terrorism, SLFP general secretary, Dayasiri Jayasekara requested 1.5 million public servants, 300,000 armed forces personnel and all other right-thinking people to consider whether demanding full salary plus full pension by disabled soldiers in addition to so many other benefits and privileges given to them was reasonable.

Mr. Jayasekara said it was President Maithripala Sirisena who gave salary increases, welfare benefits and other relief to all armed forces personnel and in particular to disabled soldiers, and added it was sad to witness that a section of disabled soldiers who have staged a protest in front of the Fort Railway station have blamed President Sirisena for the delay in approving their demands.

He said that public servants were entitled to a full pension of 90% of the last drawn salary after 30 years of uninterrupted service, but some disabled soldiers have served less than two years in the war front before getting injured. They are now to draw a full salary and full pension for life after completing 55 years of age.

The full salary and pension benefits are in addition to other allowances like payment of ration allowance, marriage allowance, adjustable allowance, house rent allowance, qualification allowance, re-engagement allowance, good conduct allowance, monthly interim allowance, W&OP allowance and maintenance allowance that bring the salary of a soldier to Rs. 80,099.80.

The death benefit payment is Rs. 183,072. The pension after retirement after 55 is Rs. 51,812. Those who have completed ten years of service are entitled to a gratuity payment of Rs. 300,000.

When the government gives all possible assistance financially and otherwise to disabled soldiers, is it fair to politicize their grievances and make it a media circus? Mr. Jayasekara asked.

To pay salaries, pensions and allowances, the government incurs Rs. 3.5 billion a month or over Rs. 40 billion per year. (Sandun A Jayasekera)

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