Policemen may eye divorce to raise spending power
EconomyNext – Sri Lanka’s latest move to offer free water and electricity to unmarried policemen and women could encourage bachelorhood in the ranks while helping the national budget by reducing the burden of excess children on the exchequer.
The government is already committed to giving a grant of LKR 100,000 to the third child of public servants, a move to encourage large families. The zero point one million rupee babies are expected to follow parents in voting for the party in power.
However, by encouraging police men and women to stay single and save on water and energy, the Sri Lankan treasury may have played a master stroke in checking future expenditure while appearing to be generous with handouts.
Police spokesman Ajith Rohana in a statement said all unmarried police men and women will no longer be asked to pay for their utilities.
The government may have to extend the concession to some 400,000 in the armed forces too to ensure equal treatment, but more on that could be expected closer to voting day.
Rohana did not say if married policemen will be entitled to free water if they obtain a divorce before next month’s presidential election.
Rohana’s statement issued today does not suggest any link between the election and the generous hand outs to police bachelors, but says it is s policy decision taken by the treasury headed by Punchi Banda Jayasundera.
Under the new scheme of Jayasundera, there is unlikely to be anymore claims in line with President Mahinda Rajapakse’s 2011 budget proposal of granting 100,000 to a third child of a member of armed forces.
The scheme was extended to the police in 2012, but with new perks for bachelors’ even the parents in the police may now be encouraged to separate to take advantage of unlimited water and electricity absolutely free of charge.
What a windfall for the unmarried whose spending power will rise to new highs.
Jehan Perera - Executive Director National Peace Council