To mitigate economic crisis: Assam suspends release of MLA funds, no function or 5-star hotel stay

Guwahati, April 29: Assam suspends release of MLA funds. Assam government on Wednesday has initiated a set of austerity measures to mitigate the present economic crisis of the state due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown imposed to combat the spread of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The state government has suspended the release of the MLA Area Development Fund in the first four months of the current financial year or until further orders.

Assam Finance minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said that, like the health crisis, a similar crisis is looming over the economy also and the state government has taken some measures to mitigate the present economic crisis of the state.

“We have decided to release the salary to all the government employees for April also,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The state Finance department on Wednesday issued a notification in this regard and said that – “Finance department has been issuing austerity instructions from time to time to contain non-developmental expenditure and release of additional resources for priority Schemes. Such measures are intended at promoting fiscal discipline, without restricting the operational efficiency of the Government. In the context of the current fiscal situation arising out of the outbreak of COVID-19, there is a need to rationalize expenditure and optimize available resources.”

Assam suspends release of MLA funds

To tackle the economic crisis of the state, the Assam government has decided to cut 25 percent of the remuneration of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of all PSUs, Corporations, Boards from May 1.

Earlier, the Assam Governor, Chief Minister and Council Of Ministers have decided to donate 30 percent of their salary to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

According to the government notification, 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relating to the issuance of Administrative Approval and Financial Sanction in respect of SOPD Schemes is hereby withdrawn until further orders. However, the Departments may approach the Finance Department with full justification for prior concurrence of schemes they propose to implement. Delegated power in respect Of CSS/EAP will continue, as before.

“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 Chief Minister. Utmost economy shall be observed in organizing conferences/ seminars/ workshops/fairs and functions. Holding Of such exhibitions/seminars/ conferences/fairs and functions is banned in the first quarter in the physical model. There will be a ban on holding meetings and conferences in five-star hotels. 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,” said in the government notification.

The state Finance department has also directed all departments that, establishment expenditure for the first quarter of the Financial Year 2020-21 to 20 percent, now only 10 percent of the total budget is hereby allowed to be spent.

“No executive class will be allowed except in the case of the Governor of Assam, Chief Minister, Chief Justice, other Judges of Gauhati High Court and Chief Secretary of Assam. All expenses about Industrial exemptions, subsidies, and incentives of various sectors are hereby suspended until further orders. NO reimbursement of GST to industries will be allowed in the first quarter of the current financial year,” said in the government notification.

The Assam Finance minister also said that, the state has need Rs 3600 crore for releasing salary, pension to the state government employees and pensioners every month.