The situation that the previous group is not entitled to Agrahara can be changed. Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena

The welfare state we were used to is changing currently.

The Prime Minister expressed these views (09.10.2023) while addressing the United Pensioners’ Forum held at the public library auditorium.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, addressing the event, commented as follows –

We consider you respected elders who moved our country forward and handed it over to future generations while protecting it. All of you are highly appreciated for performing your service in various services and fields during your tenures and going through the challenges, and we all, including the government, hold you in great respect.

We are constantly paying attention to the ability to provide relief to those brothers and sisters in order to fulfil the hopes of thousands of elderly people who are not entitled to a pension. By approving the financial allocations that can be obtained in certain areas, we have led those discussions to the process of taking those activities forward.

There is no point in accusing the government. I humbly say that we should look to the future. We always intervene to provide relief for people who are facing financial problems.

I never deny the fact that the goods are overpriced. As someone who has worked with the public, I cannot do that. We make every possible effort to reduce the price of goods. We cannot deny the problems regarding the cost of living. The welfare state we are used to is currently changing.

Instead of a welfare state, we are moving on a different path. In the policies adopted in the last period, many achievements that were on the side of the people have been changed by now.

As the Minister of Labour, I fought to protect them as much as possible, with the people you represent. If the Agrahara insurance scheme is considered, I presented the memorandum as a paper of the Ministry of Labour to discuss and correct the lapses as the Minister of Labour at that time. The Cabinet had to accept it at that time. It was stated today that there are deficiencies in its full implementation. At that time, legal experts said that according to the insurance laws of our country, insurance cannot be given beyond a certain age. After much explanation, the insurance law was changed for the Agrahara scheme. During the attempt to implement it, some controversy arose because it was misinterpreted to the people. Those lapses still exist because of the inability to properly establish a consensus between the government and you. Let us make a change in the situation where shortcomings exist in the Agrahara scheme and the previous group is not entitled to the Agrahara scheme. It can be done. Necessary steps have been taken to implement this.

We have not forgotten the voice that was always raised on behalf of you. Let us work together to create a future where our country’s retired generation can spend their retirement with more confidence.

Officials, including the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration, Ranjith Ashoka, as well as many representatives of pensioners’ associations from around the island, participated in this event.

Prime Minister’s Media Division