Modi govt bars first class travel, five-star hotel meetings for officials

And there will be a total ban on new posts and those that have remained vacant for more than a year will not be filled.

By: Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: October 30, 2014 8:34 pm
PM Narendra Modi's meeting with journalists is being termed Diwali Milan. (Source: PTI photo) PM Narendra Modi’s meeting with journalists is being termed Diwali Milan. (Source: PTI photo)

Unveiling an austerity drive to cut non-plan expenditure by 10 per cent, the Narendra Modi government has barred bureaucrats from travelling first class on overseas visits and have been asked to use video conferencing as much as possible.

With an aim to restrict fiscal deficit to 4.1 per cent of GDP in 2014-15, the Finance Ministry has barred officials from holding meetings in five-star hotels and put a freeze on fresh appointments and filling up posts lying vacant for over one year.

“While officers are entitled to various classes of air travel depending on seniority, utmost economy would need to be observed while exercising the choice keeping the limitations of budget in mind. However, there would no bookings in the first class,” said the office memorandum.

The facility of Video Conferencing, it said, “may be used effectively”.

The Finance Ministry said purchase of new vehicles to meet operational requirement of defence forces, Paramilitary forces and security organisations are permitted but ban on purchase of any other vehicles would continue.

“Such measures are intended at promoting fiscal discipline, without restricting the operational efficiency of the government. In the context of the current fiscal situation, there is a need to continue to rationalise expenditure and optimise available resources,” it said.

The government proposes to lower the fiscal deficit to 3 per cent of GDP by 2016-17. The deficit which had touched a high of 5.7 per cent in 2011-12, was brought down to 4.8 per cent in 2012-13 and further to 4.5 per cent in 2013-14 by way of austerity measures.

“The task before me is very challenging because we need to revive growth, particularly in manufacturing sector and infrastructure,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in his budget speech. He added that choice has to be made whether or not to be victims of mere populism and wasteful expenditure.

The Finance Ministry said that the “mandatory 10 per cent cut” in plan expenditure will exclude interest payments, repayment of debt, defence, capital, salaries, pensions and grants to the state.

“No re-appropriation of funds to augment the non-plan heads of expenditure on which cuts have been imposed, shall be allowed during the current fiscal,” it said.

It said the austerity measures would also apply to autonomous bodies, adding that no fresh commitments would be made over and above what was provided in the Budget.

Only seminars and conferences that are absolutely  essential should be organised, it said, adding that “holding of exhibitions/seminars/conferences abroad is strongly discouraged except in case of exhibitions for trade promotions.”

It said in all cases of air travel the lowest air fare tickets available for entitled class are to be purchased. “No companion free ticket on domestic/international travel is to be availed of,” it added.

Referring to jobs in government departments, it said there will be a total ban on new posts and those that have remained vacant for more than a year will not be filled except “under very rare and unavoidable circumstances”.

The Finance Ministry has also asked the departments to avoid bunching up expenditure in the last quarter to ensure that there is no infructuous or wasteful spending.

It said the Secretaries would be responsible to ensure compliance of the austerity measures and the Financial Advisors would be required to submit reports to the Finance Ministry on a quarterly basis.

The non-plan expenditure of government deals with outlay on subsidies, interest payment, salary, among others.

For the current fiscal, the government has proposed a Plan  expenditure of Rs 5.75 lakh crore, while that for non-Plan expenditure is over Rs 12.19 lakh crore.

Total budgeted expenditure estimates, including Plan and non-Plan stand at Rs 17,94,892 crore, higher than revised estimates for 2013-14 at Rs 15,90,434 crore.

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First Published on: October 30, 2014 4:30 pm
  1. I
    IndianWellWisher
    Oct 30, 2014 at 5:48 pm
    As long as it saves money - let us credit those who actually do it.
    Reply
    1. I
      IndianWellWisher
      Oct 30, 2014 at 5:48 pm
      As long as it saves money - let us credit those who actually do it.
      Reply
      1. I
        IndianWellWisher
        Oct 30, 2014 at 5:45 pm
        Right. Swamy had suggested removing income tax - a major source of harment for public and source of revenue for corrupt IT officials. Its admin costs does not justify recovery.Taxation on goods bought is the right model.
        Reply
        1. I
          IndianWellWisher
          Oct 30, 2014 at 5:45 pm
          Right. Swamy had suggested removing income tax - a major source of harment for public and source of revenue for corrupt IT officials. Its admin costs does not justify recovery.Taxation on goods bought is the right model.
          Reply
          1. P
            Prapur
            Oct 30, 2014 at 5:45 pm
            Do you have any proof? When was Sonia, RG or Chidu and company talk of austerity and implemented any such ideas? On what ground RG and Sonia travelling abroad paid by Indian government? What about hundreds of scam attributed to UPA?
            Reply
            1. P
              Prapur
              Oct 30, 2014 at 5:45 pm
              Do you have any proof? When was Sonia, RG or Chidu and company talk of austerity and implemented any such ideas? On what ground RG and Sonia travelling abroad paid by Indian government? What about hundreds of scam attributed to UPA?
              Reply
              1. A
                Anil Sabaji
                Oct 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm
                Most important to strip off special privileges to government employees and officers in various government departments such as Free Electricity to Electricity Board employees, Free train travel to Railway employees, Free air travel to Air India employees etc. These are undue advantages and privileges enjo by government employees with tax payers money.
                Reply
                1. A
                  Anil Sabaji
                  Oct 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm
                  Most important to strip off special privileges to government employees and officers in various government departments such as Free Electricity to Electricity Board employees, Free train travel to Railway employees, Free air travel to Air India employees etc. These are undue advantages and privileges enjo by government employees with tax payers money.
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    shrikant
                    Oct 31, 2014 at 8:09 pm
                    Non plan expenditure is sought to decrease to leash the vacillating fiscal deficit.That is very thoughtful and can turn out to be an important factor for the furtherance of Indian emerging economy to usher.Restricting officers liberty to insulate them into their fantasy sides is commendable,but what about millions starving for govt jobs lacking skills to make themselves into the tactful industries.You have team of savvy officers and secretaries who fantasize themselves in spending on weapons for a powerful India rather than a intellectual India. Modi we are with you but not with your decision.
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      shrikant
                      Oct 31, 2014 at 8:09 pm
                      Non plan expenditure is sought to decrease to leash the vacillating fiscal deficit.That is very thoughtful and can turn out to be an important factor for the furtherance of Indian emerging economy to usher.Restricting officers liberty to insulate them into their fantasy sides is commendable,but what about millions starving for govt jobs lacking skills to make themselves into the tactful industries.You have team of savvy officers and secretaries who fantasize themselves in spending on weapons for a powerful India rather than a intellectual India. Modi we are with you but not with your decision.
                      Reply
                      1. B
                        Bhagwan Das
                        Oct 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm
                        Om MaMo, Om NamoHar Har Shri ModiJai Jai Shri ModiOm NaMo Om NaMo
                        Reply
                        1. B
                          Bhagwan Das
                          Oct 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm
                          Om MaMo, Om NamoHar Har Shri ModiJai Jai Shri ModiOm NaMo Om NaMo
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            Ranganathan Balasubramanian
                            Oct 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm
                            It is now necessary to replay the tape. The old govt. dint implement the policy. But Mr modi will sure progr the policy.
                            Reply
                            1. R
                              Ranganathan Balasubramanian
                              Oct 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm
                              It is now necessary to replay the tape. The old govt. dint implement the policy. But Mr modi will sure progr the policy.
                              Reply
                              1. R
                                Ranganathan Balasubramanian
                                Oct 30, 2014 at 3:47 pm
                                Really the present govt. should stop such kind of expenditure even though the party spends. The party also should consider spending the money to improve the villages, tanks, river etc under their banner.
                                Reply
                                1. R
                                  Ranganathan Balasubramanian
                                  Oct 30, 2014 at 3:47 pm
                                  Really the present govt. should stop such kind of expenditure even though the party spends. The party also should consider spending the money to improve the villages, tanks, river etc under their banner.
                                  Reply
                                  1. B
                                    Bankimchandra Desai
                                    Oct 31, 2014 at 2:05 am
                                    NaMo's Reality Distortion :On one hand lavish ,extravagant expenses on swearing in ceremonies at New Delhi, and now in Mumbai, unlimited budget for Z security by very highly skilled and trained personnel to useless fellows like Mukesh Ambani and majority of BJP leaders , thousands of crores of rupees for populist schemes, on other hands NaMo is trying to curtail perks and benefits enjo by all babus till very recently. Nothing to worry ! Ambani & Adani will secretly provide all facilities .Reforms should start from 7 RCR !Read
                                    Reply
                                    1. B
                                      Bankimchandra Desai
                                      Oct 31, 2014 at 2:05 am
                                      NaMo's Reality Distortion :On one hand lavish ,extravagant expenses on swearing in ceremonies at New Delhi, and now in Mumbai, unlimited budget for Z security by very highly skilled and trained personnel to useless fellows like Mukesh Ambani and majority of BJP leaders , thousands of crores of rupees for populist schemes, on other hands NaMo is trying to curtail perks and benefits enjo by all babus till very recently. Nothing to worry ! Ambani & Adani will secretly provide all facilities .Reforms should start from 7 RCR !Read
                                      Reply
                                      1. A
                                        arjun
                                        Oct 31, 2014 at 3:21 pm
                                        The money spent on advers is private money from the party. It is not govt money.
                                        Reply
                                        1. A
                                          arjun
                                          Oct 31, 2014 at 3:21 pm
                                          The money spent on advers is private money from the party. It is not govt money.
                                          Reply
                                          1. B
                                            Basdeo
                                            Oct 30, 2014 at 5:14 pm
                                            When will the VOA(Visa on Arrival) will be implemented?
                                            Reply
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