Seeking to contain expenditure, the Cabinet Secretary has asked top bureaucrats in all ministries to “strictly” follow the austerity code and refrain from holding conferences and meetings in five-star hotels.
They have been told that five-star hotels should be used only for important bilateral or multilateral official engagements.
In a recent communication to all secretaries, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth said they should ensure “strict compliance” of the instructions.
In October last year, the government had unveiled an austerity drive to trim fiscal deficit by banning first class air travel for bureaucrats, meetings in five-star hotels and purchase of cars. It also put a freeze on new appointments.
The measures that are aimed at cutting non-plan spending by 10 per cent include a ban on filling of vacant posts to reduce fiscal deficit to 7-year low of 4.1 per cent of GDP.
It had said that Secretaries would be responsible for ensuring compliance of austerity measures.
It had also said that only the seminars and conferences that are absolutely essential should be organised and holding
of exhibitions/seminars/conferences abroad is strongly discouraged except in case of exhibitions for trade promotions.
The government proposes to lower the fiscal deficit to 3 per cent of GDP by 2016-17. It had touched a high of 5.7 percent 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.