In an attempt to ease the impact of the economic slow and drought on the government finances Pranab Mukherjee had advised ministers to refrain from holding meetings at five star hotels and imposed a ten percent cut in non-plan expediture which includes spending on publications, professional services, advertising and publicity, office expenses, petrol, oil, lubricants except for security related requirements and other administrative expenses.
The austerity drive prescribed by the UPA government in Sep 2009 had caused mixed reaction among the ministers and landed some into embarrassing situations. State External Affairs Minister Shashi Tharoor was always at the receiving end for his controversial statement. The most prominent one being his comment of travel economy class.
However, in keeping with the austerity drive, Rahul Gandhi travelled to Ludhiana in Shatabdi express after UPA Chairperson flew in economy class.