Nearly 5,000 persons who fraudulently obtained Samurdhi subsidies have returned their Samurdhi cards following a request by the Samurdhi and Poverty Alleviation Ministry.
Earlier, the Ministry appealed to those who have obtained Samurdhi by furnishing false information to return their cards.
A December 15 to 25 time frame was granted for the return of these Samurdhi cards.
A majority of these persons belonged to income categories that far exceeded the levels stipulated for obtaining the Samurdhi subsidy. Details received by the Ministry revealed that certain persons with high monthly income levels have obtained Samurdhi subsidies while a large number in the lowest rungs of poverty were yet to receive the subsidy, Samurdhi and Poverty Alleviation Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told the Daily News.
`However a large number of persons who fraudulently obtained Samurdhi benefits are yet to return their Samurdhi cards,` the Minister said.
The return of Samurdhi cards by `non-deserving` recipients have made it possible to grant Samurdhi benefits to a large number of poor who have not yet been given Samurdhi, she said.
Under the Mahinda Chintana manifesto introduced by President Mahinda Rajapakse, the Ministry has implemented a special programme to immediately grant Samurdhi benefits to more recipients by rectifying this anomaly.
The Government has allocated Rs.3,000 million for 2006 to grant a 50 per cent increase in the Samurdhi subsidy. The distribution of 2006 Samurdhi cards to beneficiaries will be done publicly to prevent a recurrence of the fraud.