COVID-19: Odisha govt issues expenditure rationalisation measures

Odisha Govt

Odisha Government on Tuesday issued the expenditure rationalisation measures for all the departments in the wake of the economic downturn due to COVID-19.

“We are going through a crisis of unprecedented nature due to the global pandemic COVID-19. It has posed challenges in every sphere of our life. The State Government has been fighting the pandemic with all its might to minimize the casualty. The strategic imposition of shutdowns/lockdowns at various places could ensure the minimum spread of the virus” said State Finance Secretary Ashok Meena in a letter to Head of all departments.
“However, nation-wide lockdown/ shutdown has interrupted the economic activities which resulted in a shortfall in the realisation of resources. On the other hand, COVID management would require higher expenditure. There would also be higher spending need for generating employment and livelihoods for the most affected sections of the society,” he stated.

“Therefore, all Administrative Departments are required to prioritize their expenditure needs in order to limit the expenditure within the resources available with priority to make fiscal space for COVID-19 related expenditure,” read the letter.

According to the measures, no new State Schemes/ Projects will be taken up by Administrative Departments except Health and Family Welfare Department.

However, if any new scheme is essentially required for emergent public service, the same can be taken up only after concurrence of the Finance Department.

As Expenditure Rationalisation measures, the state government decided to cap expenditure on continuing State Schemes for the current financial year 2020-21 except schemes relating to Livelihoods in Agriculture & allied sector and expenditure for combating COVID-19.

“There will be a complete ban on creation of new posts except for Health & Family Welfare Department. In case, there is an absolute necessity for the creation of posts for modernization of administration or effective implementation of development and welfare programmes, the same shall be considered only against the abolition of equivalent posts with the concurrence of Finance Department,” read an official release.

As a part of the rationalisation of expenditure on travel and vehicle, there will be a complete ban on the purchase of new vehicles for the next two years.

Travel/official tours have to be avoided in general, there will 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 the journey by air.

As rationalisation of establishment expenditure, there shall be a complete ban on purchase of new equipment except medical equipment and equipment required for internal security.

However, equipment required for promoting digital communication can be procured with the concurrence of the Finance Department.

Expenditure out of the provision ‘Other Contingencies’ will be kept at the minimum level.

Only expenditure relating to COVID management and other essential expenditure may be incurred. There will be no expenditure on the purchase of office furniture/ fixtures and furnishing. Expenditure out of the provision ‘Other Contingencies’ will be capped at 60 per cent of the budget provision for the whole year.

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