Govt comes up with new measures to promote fiscal discipline

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Feb 20: In order to keep check on infructuous or wasteful expenditure and to promote fiscal discipline, the Government has issued new set of directions to all the departments for strict compliance. Moreover, all the Administrative Secretaries have been explicitly told that they shall be responsible for ensuring adherence to the measures aimed at rationalization of expenditure.
These directives have been issued by Navin K Choudhary, Commissioner/ Secretary, Finance Department on the instructions of Governor N N Vohra.
As far as balanced pace of expenditure is concerned, the Finance Department has directed that during the last quarter of the year the expenditure should be limited to 33% of the budget allocation and in the month of March, the expenditure should be limited to 15% of the Budget Estimates.
Any department exceeding this limit will submit a detailed explanatory note to the Finance Department by April 10, 2016. “In the last month of the year, payments may be made only for the goods and services actually procured and for reimbursement of expenditure already incurred”, the circular said while making it clear that no amount should be released in advance in the last month.
However, the departments have been given powers to make advance payments to contractors under terms of duly executed contracts so that Government would not renege on its legal or contractual obligations. Moreover, departments can release amount in advance for loans or advances to Government servants or private individuals as a measure of relief and rehabilitation as per service conditions or on compassionate grounds.
The Finance Department has cautioned that rush of expenditure on procurement should be avoided during the last month of the year so as to ensure that all procedures are complied with and there is no infructuous or wasteful expenditure. The Financial Advisors have been advised to specially monitor this aspect in their respective departments.
In order to cut expenditure on holding of unwarranted seminars and conferences, the Finance Department has stressed that utmost economy shall be observed in this regard and only such conferences, workshops and seminars etc, which are absolutely essential, should be held.
Even directions have been issued for discouraging holding of exhibitions, fairs, seminars and conferences outside the State except in the case of exhibition for tourism or handicraft promotion. Moreover, ban has been imposed on holding of meetings and conferences at private hotels and departments have been asked to make use of Government buildings/premises for such events.
Though the Finance Department has permitted purchase of new vehicles to meet the operational requirement but it has categorically stated that the same shall only be against condemnation as a replacement measure.
About domestic and international travel by the officers, the Finance Department said, “travel expenditure should be regulated so as to ensure that each department remains within the allocated budget for the same”, adding “re-appropriation/ augmentation proposals on this account will not be entertained”.
“Within the country, the officers should travel only by economy class regardless of entitlement and facility of video conferencing may be used effectively and travel for the purpose of attending meetings should be avoided to the extent possible”, the Finance Department said, adding “in all cases of air travel, the lowest air fare ticket available for entitled class is to be purchased/procured”.
Stating that no fresh financial commitments shall be made on items which are not provided for in the approved budget, the Finance Department has made it clear that Administrative Secretaries shall be responsible for ensuring compliance of the measures. It has also directed the Financial Advisors to assist the respective departments in securing compliance with these measures and also submit an overall report to the Department of Finance.

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