Austerity Announced, No Official Dinners, Lunches

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday announced various economy and austerity measures to promote fiscal discipline and ensure a balanced pace of expenditure.

According to Government Order No:321-F of 2021 issued by Financial Commissioner Atal Dulloo reads government departments and autonomous bodies during the last quarter of the current financial year the expenditure should be limited to 30% of budget allocation and in the month of March, the expenditure should be limited to 15% of the Budget Estimates.

It also directed that in the last month of the current financial year, payments be made only for the goods and services actually procured and for reimbursement of expenditure already incurred.

The government has ordered that no amount be released in advance (in the last month) with the exception of advance payments to contractors under terms of duly executed contracts so that Government would not renege on its legal or contractual obligations, any loans or advances to the Government servants etc or private individuals as a measure of relief and rehabilitation as per service conditions or on compassionate grounds and any other exceptional case with the approval of the Finance Department.

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 government has also announced 10% economy cut on OE, LTC, Telephone, POL, Research & Survey and Hospitality & Sumptuary out of the Budget Estimates 2021-22.

Regarding holding of seminars and conferences, the government directed that utmost economy shall be observed in organizing 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, the order reads further. There shall be a complete ban on holding of meetings and conferences at private hotels. Government buildings/ Premises should be utilized for holding of meetings and conferences instead.

A complete ban on holding of official dinners and lunches, except those hosted by the Chief Secretary and Lieutenant Governor or with specific approval of the lieutenant governor, has also been imposed.

The administration also imposed 10% economy cut on conduct of camps and seminars out of the Budget Estimates 2021-22.

Regarding 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 while 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, the order said.

It further said the 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 lowest airfare ticket available for an entitled class shall be availed, it added.

The government also ordered that no furniture shall be procured out of the available funds.

Administrative Secretaries shall be responsible for ensuring compliance of the measures outlined above. Director Finance ()/Financial Advisor (s) shall assist the respective Departments in securing compliance with these measures and also submit an overall report to the Finance Department, reads the order.

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