J&K Govt Orders Austerity; Bars Official Dinners, Lunches, Private Hotel Conferences
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday announced a slew of austerity measures in order to promote fiscal discipline. An order issued by the administration said that measures have been announced to ensure a balanced pace of expenditure without restricting the operational efficiency of the government.
All government departments and autonomous bodies have been ordered to adhere to the austerity measures, which, among others, include a balanced pace of expenditure. “During the last quarter of the current financial year, the expenditure should be limited to 30 per cent of budget allocation, and in the month of March, the expenditure should be limited to 15 per cent of the budget estimates,” the order said.
“In the 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 the last month) with the exception that advances payments to contractors under terms of duly executed contracts so that the government would not renege on its legal or contractual obligations,” it added.
The exceptions include any loans or advances to government servants etc. or private individuals as a measure of relief and rehabilitation as per service conditions or on compassionate grounds.
“Rush of expenditure on procurement should be avoided during the last month of the current financial year so as to ensure that all procedures are complied with and there is no infructuous or wasteful expenditure.
“Director Finance(s)/Financial Advisor(s) are advised to specially monitor this aspect in their respective departments,” the order said.
The government also announced 10 per cent economy cut on OE, LTC, telephone, POL, research & survey and hospitality & sumptuary out of the budget estimates for 2021-22.
“Utmost economy shall be observed in organising conferences/seminars/workshops. Only such conferences, workshops seminars etc., which are absolutely necessary, should be held.
“Holding of exhibitions/fairs/seminars/conferences outside J&K is strongly discouraged, except in the case of the exhibition for tourism/art & craft/investment promotion.
“There shall be a complete ban on holding meetings and conferences at private hotels. Government buildings/ premises should be utilised for holding of meetings and conferences instead,” the order read.
There shall be a complete ban on holding official dinners and lunches, except those hosted by the Chief Secretary and Lieutenant Governor, or with specific approval of the lieutenant governor, it added.
The administration also imposed a 10 per cent economic cut on the conduct of camps and seminars out of the budget estimates for 2021-22
Regarding the purchase of vehicles, the government permitted new vehicles to be purchased only against condemnation as a replacement measure.
The government said 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. Within the country, the officers should travel only by economy class, regardless of entitlement,” it said.
“Facility of video conferencing may be used effectively and travel for the purpose of attending meetings should be avoided to the extent possible. In all cases of air travel, the government said, the lowest airfare ticket available for an entitled class shall be availed,” the order said.
The government also ordered that no furniture shall be procured out of the available funds.