Odisha Govt announces austerity measures in view of the Covid-19 situation

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Bhubaneswar: The State Government on Tuesday announced austerity measures for all its departments and aided institutions, cooperatives and autonomous organisations in view of the Covid-19 situation.

In a letter to all the Departments and Secretaries, Finance Secretary Ashok Meena stated that the nation-wide lockdowns and shutdowns have interrupted the economic activities which has resulted in shortfall in realisation of resources.

This apart, Covid management would require higher expenditure. Higher spending is also required to generate employment and livelihoods for the most-affected sections of the society, the letter read.

The Government asked the departments to adopt the following expenditure rationalisation measures until further orders:

1) Rationalisation of expenditure on travel and vehicle

a. There shall be complete ban on purchase of new vehicles for the next two years.

b. Travel/ official tours have to be avoided in general. Videoconferencing / use of IT for meetings/ official work should become preferred default mode.

c. There shall be complete ban on travel outside the country and air travel in business class.

d. There shall be complete ban on journey by train in 1st class AC.

2) Rationalisation of Establishment Expenditure

a. There shall be complete ban on purchase of new equipments except medical equipments and equipments required for internal security.

b. There shall be complete ban on expenditure on renovation, remodelling, furnishing etc and purchase of furniture and fixtures in Government offices.

c. There shall be complete ban on meetings, seminars, workshops and hosting of official lunch and dinner in hotels.

d. There shall be complete ban on LTC for two years.

3) Recruitment and manpower engagement

a. There shall be a complete ban on creation of new posts except for Health & Family Welfare Department.

b. There shall be automatic abolition of redundant posts which have remained vacant for more than 5 years.

c. New engagement of consultants, outsourcing and engagement of retired Government employees shall be restricted.

4) Austerity in implementation of schemes

a. No new State schemes/ projects to be taken up except by Health Department.

b. There shall be capping of expenditure on continuing State chemes for the current financial year 2020-21 except schemes relating to livelihoods in agriculture and allied sector and expenditure for combating Covid.

c. No expenditure should be incurred for construction of new statues. Beautification of parks and public places during this year should be avoided.

d. New tender of execution of works, procurement of goods and services is to be avoided. However, if it is necessary to meet any emergent public service, floating of new tender exceeding value of Rs 5 crore and procurement of goods and services exceeding value of Rs 25 lakh would require prior concurrence of Finance Department.

e. If a tender has already been floated, it is to be reviewed; and if it is not urgent in nature, it should be cancelled. Tenders related to new official buildings, guesthouses and residential buildings are cancelled for two years till March 31, 2022.

f. Expenditures in respect of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) shall be incurred only after receipt of Central share.

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