The official ceremony was held to offer a monthly allowance to the veteran artistes who contributed their time and effort to nourish the local cinema under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the National Film Corporation auditorium today(15).
The allowance, which was started with a sum of Rs. 500 each in 1987 was increased to Rs. 2000 by 1998 and now it has been incrrased to Rs 5,000 each and the payments were handed over to 57 artistes. This is the first time the allowance was increased since 1998.
This allowance which was Rs. 2000 was increased in to Rs.5000 in the previous budget after twenty years under the instructions of President Sirisena. At the same time the number of recipients was increased to 163 persons, who completed 60 years of age. They were selected after applications were called until 31st of March 2018.
The applications sent after this due date will be offered an allowance within the second phase of the programme.
Cheques were presented to 20 artistes by the President marking the payment of allowance to 163 persons.
The President unveiled a portrait of the first Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of National Film Corporation Veteran Artist Dr.D.B. Nihalsinghe at the National Film Corporation premises. Dr. Kalyani Nihalsinghe, widow of late Dr. D.B. Nihalsinghe was also present in the event.
The ceremony started with bringing back the memories of late artistes who contributed on the local cinema including Dr. Lester James Peries.
Ministers Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, state minister Mohan Lal Grero, Chairman of National Film Corporation Sithendra Senaratne, veteran artistes Ravindra Randeniya, Malini Fonseka and others were present in this event.