India proposes austerity to tackle deficit
Indian government may slash spending on foreign travel by ministers and officials and on meetings in five-star hotels as part of austerity measures to cut down on budget deficit in view of the tight economic situation.
Also on the cards is pruning of allocations made to various schemes, where spending will be insisted on current outlay before asking for additional money.
“The austerity drive would be divided into two parts. First there would be a cut in establishment expenses, and then there could be some cut in the scheme wise expenses as well,” official sources said.
With finances under stress, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had announced on Wednesday in Parliament that government would resort to “unpopular” austerity measures to deal with fiscal problems.
“... I am going to take a little bit of unpopular steps. I am going to issue some austerity measures...,” Mukherjee had said.
It is likely that the government would announce some curbs in foreign tours by ministers and officials as well as insistence on travel by economy class.
“A detailed plan has to be worked out for expenditure rationalisation,” the official said, adding that a decision on the scheme wise expenditure would be taken after consultation with various ministries.
In a bid to reduce wasteful expenditure and containing fiscal deficit, the government had last year cut foreign tours and asked officials to refrain from hosting conferences in five-star hotels.