Thursday, July 2, 2020

Modi tightens Ministries belt, Cut 25% Expenditure

Railways to cut costs, Reduce Staff, Others follow Piyush Goyal Acts fast

Harish Gupta (National Editor, Lokmat Group)
New Delhi, June 23
Acting swiftly on the directions of the Prime Minister, the Railways and other Central ministries have started taking a slew of austerity-measures to cut expenditure.
The ministries have been directed to avoid
holding ceremonial functions physically and move over to  digital platforms. The Railways under Piyush Goyal and , Road Transport under Nitin Gadkari and others used to hold at least 6-7 functions per day on an average. Not anymore.
The Ministries have been told to cut down the use of stationary at least by 50 per cent and identify areas where costs can be cut immediately by 20%-25%.
Among the austerity measures underway, the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal plans for freezing creation of new posts, dumping outsourced work to companies to involve CSR pattern and rationalizing  manpower at its workshops. On the directions of the Minister, the financial commissioner directed GMs  on June 19 that the traffic earnings dropped by 58 per cent at the end of May. It also asked the zones to review contracts, and reduce energy consumption. There is a freeze on creation of any new post except for safety-related posts. All file work be moved to the digital sphere and advised that all correspondence must be done through secure e-mails system.
Earlier, the Modi government had put on hold all proposed foreign training stints for its officials during 2020-21. Any foreign training needed in “exceptional circumstances” will be permitted, but with the prior approval of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), said the June 15 order. The officials are sent for mid-career training programs to  foreign universities, including Harvard, Cambridge, UCLA, Berkeley, Australia and New Zealand.
Last fortnight, the Department of Expenditure had directed the ministries to suspend all new schemes with funding commitments of up to Rs 500 crore till March next year. The order exempts the Covid-related schemes.
Earlier, the Central government had also frozen increments of DA to government employees and pensioners. It was forced to resort to such drastic measures after the government’s revenue receipts hit an all-time low due to Covid-19 and other problems.