Observing austerity measures, Union Coal Minister cancels visit to Canada

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New Delhi, June 9 : Union Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia has cancelled his bilateral discussion on coal mining industry with British Columbia scheduled to be held in Canada from the end of this month, citing Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's directive to observe austerity measures to all his Cabinet Ministers.

Earlier on Friday, scrupulously adhering to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's appeal to curtail expenditure, three Union Ministers cancelled their forthcoming foreign tours and went on an overdrive of austerity measures.

One of the first onboard was Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu who cancelled his trip to Finland scheduled from June 9 to June 12 where he was supposed to sign a memorandum of cooperation in the field of transport.

The minister "has called off his tour in deference to the austerity measures announced by the Prime Minister on Thursday," an official statement said.

Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni also cancelled her forthcoming visit to the United States.

She was scheduled to visit San Francisco and Los Angeles from June 21 to June 28 to attend the World Kuchipudi Dance Festival and American Association of Physicians of India Origin during her week long US tour.

Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi issued a set of directives to his ministry officials for cutting down on expenditure, that include making foreign travels an absolute rarity and travelling only by economy class on domestic tours.

Pursuant to the austerity measures proposed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the wake of the fuel price hike, Dasmunsi asked the Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser of the Ministry to prepare a status note "clearly highlighting the areas of non-plan expenditure" where an extra saving of five per cent could be made in the current financial year.

ANI

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