The Tamil Nadu government has announced a slew of austerity measures to tackle the huge shortfall in receipts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking into account the mounting additional expenditure commitments due to containment efforts, prevention, relief and mitigation activities, the government has listed actions necessary to minimise fiscal stress so that expenditure on welfare schemes and capital works can help revive the economy.
When presenting its budget the government had estimated its total revenue receipts to be â‚¹2,19,375.14 crore for 2020-21. However, with industries across the spectrum recording extremely low incomes and salaries slashed, the government has revised its expectations. Moreover, the need for more spending in the coming months for public health, has forced it to cut down on its own expenditures.
As part of these measures the government has decided to curtail certain avoidable items of expenditure during the current financial year. This includes:
1. A 20% cut in the overall budgeted amount in routine expenditure.
2. 50% cut in the amount budgeted for expenditure on furniture.
3. 25% cut in expenditure for Advertising and Publicity
4. 50% cut in hospitality/entertainment expenditure such as official lunches, dinners and other forms of entertainment
5. 25% cut in machinery and equipment purchase except for essential services including Health and Family Welfare, Fire and Rescue services and schemes coming under Externally Aided projects.
6. Total ban on purchase of new vehicles except for emergency services like Medical, Ambulatory services, police and fire services and VVIP security.
7. 50% cut in budget for training programmes unless it involves fundamental/foundation training programmes as part of the probation/promotion and COVID-19 related training requirement.
8. 25% reduction in printing charges.
9. Purchase of new computer accessories will not be allowed except for replacement of old and dysfunctional systems. 25% cut in expenditure for the same.
10. Permission for office travelling to be given judiciously and only when necessary. Review meeting to be held via video conferencing.
11. General transfers to be kept on hold for 2020-21 to minimise transfer travel expenses.
12. Travel concession to be minimised in view of COVID-19 pandemic. Deferred for all categories of employees and teachers from the date of order until further orders.