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Last Updated At :- 08-07-2020 11:43 PM

Covid impact: Odisha announces austerity measures

Bhubaneswar, July 7 (IANS) The Odisha government on Tuesday announced several austerity measures, including a ban on creation of new posts and new schemes, in view of the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

There shall be a complete ban on creation of new posts, except in the Health and Family Welfare Department, said a letter issued by Finance Secretary Ashok Meena to all the government departments.

In case there is absolute necessity for creation of posts for modernisation of administration or effective implementation of development and welfare programmes, the same shall be considered only against abolition of equivalent number posts with concurrence of the Finance Department, the letter said.

Meena said there shall be automatic abolition of redundant posts, which have remained vacant for more than five years.

He said that new engagement of consultants, outsourcing and engagement of retired government employees shall be restricted.

No new state schemes/projects to be taken up by the administrative departments except the health department. However, if any new scheme is essentially required for emergent public service, the same can be taken up only after appraisal by EFC/SFC following the due procedure and with specific concurrence of the Finance Department for any expenditure under such scheme.

The government also capped expenditure on continuing state schemes for the current financial year 2020-21 except schemes relating to livelihoods in agriculture and allied sectors and expenditure for combating Covid-19.

Meena said there shall be a complete ban on purchase of new vehicles for the next two years while travel and official tours have to be avoided in general.

Video conferencing, use of IT for meetings and official work should become the preferred default mode, he added.

He said there shall be a complete ban on travel outside the country and air travel in business class using government funds.

"Air journey should be avoided and meetings through video conferencing may be preferred. In exigencies, approval of authority one level higher than the present delegation would be required for journey by air," read the letter.

Besides, there shall be a complete ban on journey by train in AC 1st class by government officials.

There shall be a complete ban on the purchase of new equipment except medical equipment and equipment required for internal security. However, equipment required for promoting digital communication can be procured with concurrence of the Finance Department, said Meena.

He said there shall be a complete ban on meetings, seminars, workshops and hosting of official lunch and dinner in hotels using government funds.

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