Govt bans official dinners, conferences, purchase of new vehicles; officers to travel by economy class


Series of economy, austerity measures ordered


10% cut on hospitality, bills, travel expenses imposed

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Dec 6: In a series of economy and austerity measures for all Government departments and autonomous bodies, the Government today directed that all Government officers would travel by economy class and ordered complete ban on holding of official dinners and lunches, meetings and conferences at private hotels, purchase of new vehicles and new furniture except certain conditions for last quarter of the current financial year of 2021-22.

The Government also imposed 10 percent economy cut on Office Expenses (OE), LTC, Telephone, Petrol, Research & Survey and Hospitality & Sumptuary, conduct of camps and seminars and travel expenses out of the Budget Estimates of 2021-22.

It directed that no fresh financial commitments should be made on items which are not provided for in the approved budget of 2021-22.

The series of economy and austerity measures were announced by Additional Chief Secretary and Financial Commissioner (Finance Department) Atal Dulloo today on the instructions of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

The Government has imposed complete ban on holding of official dinners and lunches except those hosted by the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Secretary or with specific approval of the LG.

The Finance Department imposed 10 percent economy cut on OE, LTC, Telephone, Petrol, Research & Survey and Hospitality & Sumptuary out of the budget estimates for 2021-22.

“There shall be complete ban on holding of meetings and conferences at private hotels. Government buildings/premises should be utilized for holding of meetings and conferences. Utmost economy shall be observed in organizing conferences/seminars/ workshops excepting those absolutely necessary. Similarly, exhibitions/ fairs/seminars/conferences outside J&K is strongly discouraged except in the case of exhibition for tourist/art & craft/investment promotion,” the Finance order read.

It banned purchase of new vehicles excepting the cases to meet operational requirement but only against condemnation as a replacement measure.

The Finance Department has directed that the officers should travel only be economy class regardless of their entitlement. In all cases of travel, the Government officers should avail lowest air fare tickets available for entitled class.

“Facility of video conferencing may be used effectively and travel for the purpose of attending meetings should be avoided to the extent possible, ‘ the Government order said.

It added that travel expenditure should be regulated so as to ensure that each Department remains within the allocated budget.

“Re-appropriation/augmentation proposals on this account will not be entertained. International travel shall not be allowed unless specific permission is granted by the Finance Department.

The Government has also imposed ban on purchase of new furniture.

“No furniture shall be procured out of the available funds except in case of newly established offices with the concurrence of the Finance Department. The old unserviceable furniture shall be auctioned and auction proceeds deposited as Miscellaneous Revenue,” the Finance Department order read.

It ordered that during last quarter of current financial year, the expenditure should be limited to 30 percent of budget allocation while in the month of March, the expenditure should be limited to 15 percent of the budget estimates.

“In last month of the current financial year, payments may be made only for the goods and services actually procured and for reimbursement of expenditure already incurred. No amount should be released in advance in March with certain exceptions like advance payments to contractors under terms of duly executed contracts so that the Government wouldn’t renege on its legal or contractual obligations and any loans or advances to Government servants or private individuals as a measure of relief and rehabilitation as per service conditions or compassionate grounds,” the Finance Department order said.

It added that rush of expenditure on procurement should be avoided during last month of current financial year so as to ensure that all procedures are complied with and there is no in fructuous or wasteful expenditure. It directed Financial Advisors to specially monitor this aspect.

The Government has directed that the Administrative Secretaries shall be responsible for ensuring compliance of the measures listed today.

“The Director Finance(s)/ Financial Advisors(s) shall assist the respective departments in securing compliance with these measures and also submit an overall report to the Finance Department,” the order said.

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