The state government on Friday imposed austerity measures in its departments, saying new schemes will not be taken up without the finance ministry’s approval, and freezing recruitments.
Departments will not be allowed to purchase new vehicles, computers, IT accessories, furnitures, air-conditioners, water coolers, TVs, and other office equipment.
The directive was issued since the state is facing a fund crunch, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee pointed out at a press conference at state secretariat Nabanna. She said the state’s revenues had taken a hit since the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain COVID-19.
“State has no earning, only burning,” she told reporters. “Many states have failed to pay the full salary of their employees. But, we gave the full salary on the first day of the month.”
The CM said her administration had already paid 35.1 lakh beneficiaries of social pension schemes two months’ money, and added that pension for two months had also been given to people from SC-ST communities.
Dismissing the BJP’s criticism that the state was withholding the ration being supplied to the state, Banerjee said: “Some political parties are trying to prove that the central government is giving ration. The central government did not give anything. They did not even give us one mask.”
On Wednesday, the CM had written to PM Narendra Modi, urging him to sanction Rs 25,000 crore crore for the state. She claimed that the sum had been promised to her government.
Meanwhile, Banerjee refused to comment on Modi’s call to people to light candles and lamps at 9 pm on April 5 to express solidarity with each other. The CM said those who agree with the PM should follow his direction, “but if I feel I will sleep, I will do that”. Expressing displeasure at being asked the question, Banerjee said: “He has told you, you do it.”
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