Farmers angry over non-payment of pensions
Aug 9, 2012
Farmers are up in arms against the government after it stopped the payment of farmers’ pensions for the past several months.

Former JVP MP S.K. Subasinghe said yesterday he would organise a series of protest rallies in paddy cultivating areas soon over the non-payment of pensions to farmers.

Mr. Subasinghe who defected from the JVP and joined the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) said large number of farmers had for years a contributed to the Agricultural and Agrarian Insurance Board pension scheme and the arbitrary suspension of benefits to farmers had raised many an eyebrow.

“This has been done on instructions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF has asked the government to curtail concessions and subsidies given to the agricultural sector,” he charged. The farmers’ pension scheme was initially suspended in November last year. However, after a series of protest rallies by farmer organisations, the government resumed the payment and continued for a few months.

Some 900,000 farmers contribute to the pension fund established under a parliamentary act. Nearly 100,000 were paid pensions up to the end of last year. Earlier, the Treasury had allocated Rs.150 million monthly towards farmers’ pensions.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka