Govt orders slew of austerity measures

Govt orders slew of austerity measures

No meetings at private hotels, travel only by economy class

Srinagar: In a circular issued on Wednesday, the government said that “utmost economy” should be observed in organising conferences, seminars, workshops, and only such functions which are “absolutely essential” should be held.
It said further that the holding of exhibitions, fairs, seminars and conferences outside the state is “strongly discouraged”, except in the case of exhibition for the promotion of tourism or handicrafts.
The circular issued by the principal secretary, finance department, Navin K Choudhary, says that there will a ban on holding of meetings and conferences at private hotels and for that purpose, government buildings and its premises should be utilised.
Allowing the purchase of new vehicles, the order says that only condemned vehicles would be replaced for operational requirement and that, too with, prior concurrence of the finance department.
The circular says that travel expenditure should be regulated to ensure that each department remains within the allocated budget and that the “augmentation or appropriation proposals on this will not be entertained”.
Directing officers to travel only by economy class within the country, regardless of entitlement, the order says that in all cases of air travel, the lowest air-fare ticket available for the entitlement class is to be purchased.
To minimise expenses on travel, the order says that video conferencing may be used “effectively” and travel for the purpose should be avoided to the “possible extent”. Besides, no fresh financial commitments will be made on items not provided for in the approved budget.
Speaking to Kashmir Reader, Naveen Choudhary said that the reason behind issuing the circular is to remind departments and other bodies that they must refrain from wasteful expenditure.
Categorically denying that there was any financial crunch in the government, he said that the circular was issued just to bring financial discipline.