Manipur government announces austerity measures as pandemic hits state economy

The move comes five days after the state halted all ongoing recruitment process citing the poor economy.

The economic dislocation inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Manipur government to cut down on non-essential expenditure in order to ensure that scarce resources are made available for meeting unavoidable and committed expenditures of the state. 

The move comes five days after the state halted all ongoing recruitment process citing the poor economy.

According to an office memorandum issued from the finance department, “the amount to be incurred on meeting recurring expenditure is likely to see an increase during the current fiscal due to certain commitments made by the government, including unavoidable expenditure on COVID-19 related activities.”

As economy measures, the government has, with immediate effect, cut down on as many as 14 categories of non-essential expenditure including excess authorisation over budget provision, commitments on expenditure, ban on recruitment, ban on creation of new entities, ban on printing of diaries, coffee table book, purchase of office furniture/equipments and luxury items among others. 

“No further excess authorisation over the budget provision shall be considered, except for central share of CSS and CPS and other central grants for which funds have been received, and for salary and pension related payments,” it said.

It directed that no financial commitments shall be made by any department on items for which expenditure sanction has not been obtained. Besides, all major tax and non-tax revenue collecting departments were asked to take urgent necessary measures to meet their targets for the current fiscal year, 2020-21.

The office memorandum also stated that orders issued by the department of personnel regarding ban on recruitment, on direct, part-time, contract, ad-hoc, substitute and casual basis, shall continue and there shall be no further creation of posts and filling up of vacant posts, except by promotion. 

All on-going recruitment processes should be put on hold except those already started with the approval of the cabinet, it reiterated.

It has also put a ban on creation of new entities and said that no new entities involving expenditure out of the consolidated fund of the state will be created. 

It further said that utmost economy shall be observed in organising conferences/seminars/workshops/exhibitions/fairs among others and only such events, which are absolutely essential should be held. “Holding of or participating in exhibitions/seminars/workshops abroad at the cost of the state government is prohibited,” it added. 

The government has also banned purchase of new vehicles with immediate effect while complete ban has been put on printing of diaries, greeting cards, coffee table books and calendars in physical forms by administrative departments, except those published by DIPR and also on purchase of office furniture/equipment and luxury items without prior approval of the finance department.

“To ensure procedural compliance and to avoid serious audit objections, no procurement related expenditure shall be entertained in the last quarter of the fiscal year,” it said.

The office memorandum also mentioned that the administrative secretary and head of department shall be responsible for ensuring compliance of the measures.

It maintained that the instructions shall apply to all government departments, state public sector undertakings, state level autonomous societies, development authorities and other statutory and non-statutory bodies fully or partly funded by the government.

“No exemption to the above measures shall be allowed, except with approval of the finance department,” it added. 

First Published:Sept. 25, 2020, 8:52 p.m.

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