The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Public Administration & Home Affairs have launched e-Pensions, a programme to better distribute Rs 250 million (US$2.2 million) in pension funds entitled to Sri Lanka’s 470,000 public sector pensioners every month.
The project, which went live on October 27th 2010, will enable pensioners to draw their pension as early as the first month after they reach retirement, using an ATM-like card at banks islandwide.
Pensioners can also now check their pension collection history after entering their pension numbers when they visit www.pensions.gov.lk. They can also receive a reminder of their pension number, and other particulars, via SMS.
The central database of the DoP will be maintained by the Population Registry, which will provide Divisional Secretariats will up-to-date information.
E-pensions aims to replace a system that means pensioners must visit the DoP’s divisional secretariats to collect or enquire about their pension.
The system will also mean fewer forms to fill in: the number of necessary documents has been reduced from 15 to three, the number of signatures from 28 to eight.
“Public servants have been transferred from a to b. Most have served in more than 10 organisations. It used to take three to six months to collect the necessary documents from a pensioner,” ICTA’s CEO Reshan Dewapura (pictured) told FutureGov.
Greater transparency is another key aim of the project.
“Irregularities and inefficiencies in the monthly pension payment system have meant that pensioners have not been getting their pension regularly. Some people have died before they could draw their pension,” Prof Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Technology and Research, Sri Lanka, said at the FutureGov Forum in the week of the launch of e-Pensions.
Key Performance Indicators for e-Pensions include a target of 95 per cent of pensioners to receive their gratuities on the date of their retirement. The project also aims to cut the number of applications returned due to errors to five per cent of the applications received, and shorten the time taken to issue a registation number to two days.
E-Pensions will be rolled out as a pilot project within a year’s time, according to ICTA. The Sri Lanka Prisons Department, the Civil Defence Department, Western Province Agrarian Services Department and the DoP Colombo will be first to trial the system.
A team of 50 ‘e-Pensions Emissaries’ has been appointed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs and the Director General of the DoP to promote the project and help manage the shift to e-Pensions.
The impact of the project has already been such that the DoP has had to reconfigure the seating plan of its offices to accomodate 250 new PCs and seven servers.
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