FinMin asks govt offices to cut down on paper use

Finance ministry’s directive has further said that size and format of all official forms and proformas must also be reviewed and simplified.

Written by Surabhi | New Delhi | Published: August 23, 2014 1:31:07 am

After a clampdown on foreign travel, the government has now advocated “judicious” use of paper to government ministries and departments, pointing out that this would not only cut down on wasteful spending but also help the environment.

Accordingly, government ministries have been asked to use both sides of paper sheets, type in single space and also limit the number of hard copies issued of office orders and circulars.

“Government is one of the major consumers of paper. Injudicious use of paper not only leads to infructuous expenditure but also impacts the environment as trees are a major source of paper pulp production,” said a missive by the department of expenditure in the finance ministry issued on Friday.

“Office copies should not be typed again where the draft itself is legible and does not contain many corrections,” it further said.

Government offices have also been asked to encourage e-forms and online submission of forms. “Manual submission of forms, returns, etc wherever stipulated… should be discouraged,” said the directive.

The finance ministry’s directive has further said that the size and format of all official forms and proformas must also be reviewed and simplified.

The letter has indicated that the latest measures are also a part of the government’s drive at economy and expenditure rationalisation but could have a significant impact on government functioning that tends to depend heavily on copious files on each issue for communication and record keeping.

Notes by each official are written and re-written till they achieve perfection and are attached to official documents.

While some government offices have slowly moved to keeping online records, hard copies of files are essential and later considered as a record of any decision.

Though the finance ministry missive said that similar instructions on paper saving have been issued earlier as well, the directive is the latest by the government that has sought to bring about changes in many aspects of government functioning.

Earlier, the Cabinet Secretariat had also asked nodal ministries to submit proposals for consideration by the Cabinet in soft copies such as PDFs along with hard copies.

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