After Centre, Delhi govt takes austerity measures

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New Delhi, Nov 9: Days after the Centre announced certain austerity measures, the Delhi government has issued similar instructions cutting down the expenditure ceiling for official meetings and lunches and setting a limit on the amount of fuel that can be used by officers.

The government has fixed 200 litres fuel per vehicle for officers of all its departments, autonomous bodies, statutory bodies and among others every month.

Earlier, all deputy commissioners, district magistrates and SDMs of the Revenue Department used to get 400 litres fuel per month, but now an officer can use petrol or diesel up to only Rs 200 litres per month.

According to a government official, expenditure ceiling for an inaugural function has been fixed at Rs 10,000, besides a department can spend Rs 300 on working lunch during meeting and conference with a ceiling of Rs 10,000 per occasion.

The Narendra Modi government recently ordered a ban on first-class air travel by top bureaucrats as part of its austerity drive to cut down on unnecessary expenditure and make the most of available resources.

The Centre has also told ministries to reduce non-plan expenditure, barring them from making new financial commitments, purchasing new vehicles, creating new posts and holding conferences at five-star hotels.

Following the Centre's footsteps, the Delhi government has come forward with such expenditure ceiling. It has fixed expenditure limit of Rs 25 per head on refreshment served to guests in official meetings.

"In the contest of the current fiscal situation, there is a need to rationalise expenditure and optimise resources without restricting the operational efficiency of the government," Chief Secretary D M Spolia said in an office memorandum issued to all government departments.

Spolia said in the memorandum, "Breach of prescribed ceilings in routine defeats the purpose of prescribing ceilings. Indeed, need for relaxation has to be occasional and in exceptional circumstances with full justification."

He also said that it is, therefore, impressed upon all concerned that prescribing ceilings will be observed scrupulously.

The fiscal deficit of Delhi for the year 2013-14 was Rs 1,268 crore and the outstanding debt was Rs 32,080.30 crore as on March 31.


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