Anita Joshua

Dasmunsi to fly economy class

NEW DELHI: Following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s advice to his ministerial colleagues to cut down on expenditure, particularly by way of foreign travel, two of them have cancelled visits abroad, and others issued directives to their establishments to hold the purse strings.

Ambika Soni’s Culture Ministry has put out a statement announcing cancellation of her visit to San Francisco and Los Angeles from June 21 to 28 to attend the World Kuchipudi Dance Festival and a function organised by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.

Surface Transport Minister T.R. Baalu was to lead a delegation to Finland from June 9 to 12 for signing a memorandum of cooperation in transport and for bilateral discussions.

According to a statement, he has called off the tour in deference to the austerity measures announced by Dr. Singh.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi has decided to fly the economy class in the domestic sector.

In a note to the Ministry, Mr. Dasmunsi said: “It would be in the fitness of things if officers of the Ministry follow suit.”

“Restrict travel”

Besides restricting foreign travel to where it is “absolutely required,” the Ministry’s views can be sent by e-mail to help the Indian Embassy/High Commission represent the country’s position at meetings. He even wants domestic tours of officials cut down.

Mr. Dasmunsi has asked the Additional Secretary and the Financial Adviser to “prepare a status note highlighting the areas of non-Plan expenditure where we can make five per cent savings in the current financial year,” over and above the reduction by five per cent every year as was directed in the standing circular of the Expenditure Ministry.