Assam finance department on Wednesday issued an office memorandum on several austerity measures taken by the state government to rationalize expenditure and optimize available resources in view of the current fiscal situation arising out of COVID19 outbreak.

The office memorandum, issued by the principal secretary to the finance department, said: “With a view to mitigate the present economic crisis in view of COVID19 pandemic”, the Assam governor, chief minister, the Council of Ministers have “already decided to donate 30% of their salary to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund”.

The office memorandum said: “Purchase of vehicles is banned until further orders, except In case of ambulances and vehicles required for police duty. This will, however, be permitted only with the approval” of the Assam chief minister.

It has also been ordered that “no executive class will be allowed” except in the case of the Assam governor, chief minister, Chief Justice and other Judges of Gauhati High Court and the state chief secretary.

All expenses pertaining to industrial exemptions, subsidies and incentives of various sectors are have also been suspended until further orders.

“No reimbursement of GST to industries will be allowed in the first quarter of the current financial year,” said the office memorandum.

The order said: “General Administrative Department will use discretion in declaration of visiting dignitaries as State Guests and follow all norms.”

No officer will be allowed to attend any foreign training course/workshop/seminar outside India for which expenditure has to be borne by the state government, the order said.

“All sanctioning power delegated to the administrative departments/heads of department, as per DFP Rule 1999 as amended, relating to the issuance of administrative approval and financial sanction In respect of SOPD Schemes hereby withdrawn until further orders. However, the departments may approach Finance Department with full justification for prior concurrence of schemes they propose to implement,” said the order.

In suppression of the point no. (iii) indicated In the General Instructions of the Budget Communicated vide No.BB.207/2012/235 issued on April 10, 2020 –  “which limited the establishment expenditure for the first quarter of the financial year 2020-21 to 20%, now only 10% of the total budget” Is “allowed to be spent”.

The office memorandum also said utmost economy shall be observed in organizing conferences/ seminars/workshops/fairs and functions.

Holding of such exhibitions/seminars/conferences/fair and functions has been “totally banned in the first quarter in the physical mode.

“There will be a ban on holding of meetings and conferences in five star hotels,” said the office memorandum.

Remuneration in respect of chairman, vice-chairman of all PSUs/corporations/boards will be reduced by 25% with effect from May 1, 2020.

Release of MLA Area Development Fund will remain suspended in the first four months of the current financial year or until further orders, whichever is earlier, said the office memorandum.

“All heads of administrative departments, heads of departments and DDOs shall be personally responsible for the proper enforcement of all the austerity measures mentioned” in this office memorandum, the principal secretary said.

Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, during his press conference in the city on Wednesday, also talked about the austerity measures taken by the Assam government to rationalise the government’s expenditure in view of the current financial situation arising out of COVID19 pandemic.

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