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Budget Brings Series Of Giveaways

By Camelia Nathaniel

The national budget for 2015, which President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented on Friday, is aimed at winning over the long neglected masses ahead of a snap Presidential election expected to be held in early January.

With the not-too-easy task of getting more than 50 per cent of the votes polled to come back to power, President Rajapaksa  announced a series of giveaways to various socially disadvantaged sections.

To encourage local paddy growers, he has increased the price of paddy from Rs 34 to 40 per kg and has pledged free seeds. To boost the local dairy sector, the guaranteed price for local fresh milk is to be increased to Rs 60 per litre.

Since kidney disease is a major health issue in agricultural areas like Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, he has announced a Rs 3,000 monthly allowance to kidney patients. Funds are to be allocated for mobile medical clinics to provide free medical checkup to every citizen.

Pre-school teachers are to be provided with a monthly allowance of Rs 2,500. The number of Grade 5 Scholarships is to be increased from 15,000 to 25,000 while the monthly allowance for the scholarship holders will be increased from Rs 500 to 1,500.

Under the anti-poverty program ‘Samurdhi’ each family will get Rs  3,000 in the case of four-member families, and Rs 2,000 in the case of three-member families. All disabled persons are to receive a Rs 3,000 monthly grant while the monthly allowance provided to senior citizens is to be increased to Rs 2,000 per month.

To lessen the unemployment problem, 50,000 students, who did not get enough marks to enter universities, will be given government jobs.

Government servants will get Rs 15,000 as minimum basic salary and all allowances will be merged with the basic pay. They will get Rs 2,500 more as Cost of Living Allowance. Auto rickshaw drivers will get pension.

Electricity tariffs for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that use below 300 units will be less by 25 per cent. Other sectors will get a 15 per cent reduction.

1 Comment for “Budget Brings Series Of Giveaways”

  1. A racket a day keeps the devil happy and gay.

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