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Odisha announces austerity measures, freeze on new posts, air travel by officers

Shortfall in revenue realisation, higher spending on pandemic management cited

July 08, 2020 02:07 am | Updated 02:07 am IST - BHUBANESWAR:

The Odisha government on Tuesday announced austerity measures in the wake of a shortfall in realisation of revenues, and the requirement of higher spending for managing the COVID-19 pandemic for the next two years.

The government has banned the creation of new posts, except in the Health and Family Welfare Department. Travel outside the country and air travel in business class using government funds has been prohibited, while officers have been asked to avoid air journeys.

“Nationwide lockdown shutdown has interrupted economic activities, which resulted in a shortfall in the realisation of resources. On the other hand, COVID management would require higher expenditure,” said Ashok Meena, State Finance Secretary in a letter to all departmental heads.

Generating employment

There would be higher spending for generating employment and livelihoods for the most affected sections of the society, he said.

No new vehicle for official use can be purchased for the next two years, and officers have been asked to stop travelling. Instead, they should use information technology for meetings and official work, the letter said.

The government said there would be automatic abolition of redundant posts that have remained vacant for more than five years. Departments have been asked to issue orders regarding the abolition of posts by July 31.

Operation and maintenance expenditure can be incurred only after the approval of an annual maintenance plan (AMP) by the Finance Department, while Engineering Departments should prepare their AMP for the year 2020-21, limiting it to a level of 60% of the budget provision, said Mr. Meena.

Except Health Dept.

The government has also banned launching new State schemes or projects, except those relating to the Health and Family Welfare department.

According to the directive, no expenditure for renovating and re-furnishing of offices, guest houses and government buildings will be permitted. Expenditure for repair and renovation of government quarters should be minimised. Expenditure of more than ₹5 lakh for repair and renovation of any government office building, and more than ₹2 lakh for the repair and renovation of any for government residential quarters during this year, would require the approval of the government.

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