Tripura Announces Austerity Measures Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak
A vendor holds an Indian one hundred rupee banknote. (Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Tripura Announces Austerity Measures Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak

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In view of the economic crisis due to Covid-19, the Tripura government has announced a series of austerity measures to reduce its expenditure and focus on optimum utilisation of the central schemes to ease burden on the state exchequer.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the council of ministers held at the state secretariat here, according to a statement issued on Saturday. "All government office expenses and other contingent budget expenditure would have to be reduced by a minimum of 15 percent," it said.

All departments were also asked to make "optimum utilisation" of contingent budgets of different centrally- sponsored welfare schemes so that no pressure comes on the state government.

The cabinet observed that the 15th Finance Commission had expressed concern over per capita expenditure in terms of salary, pension and interest rates of few states including Tripura.

In an effort to cut down regular expenses in government offices and other facilities, employees were asked to focus on e-mail communication to avoid use of paper. "All departments, PSUs, autonomous organisations and cooperative societies were strictly instructed to reduce power and telephone bills by 10 percent," the statement said.

An approval from the Chief Minister's Office will be required from now on for organising any fair, exhibition and public event. "No government fund can be used for land acquisition any more till the economic situation improves. The state government would heavily depend on e-markets for its purchases," it added.

As additional measures, use of air conditioners in government offices would be allowed only after permission from the State Economy Board. The board was also asked to assess and regulate use of television, cable connections in offices.

A survey will be held on all Public Sector Undertakings and 'necessary steps' will be taken to reduce losses and ease the financial burden on the government.

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