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Additional Austerity Measures for Combating COVID-19

State Government is currently required to incur heavy unforeseen expenditure to combat the situation arisen due to such pandemic outbreak. The 21 days lockdown which is currently in force throughout India, has severely affected the economy of the Country and the State.

Published in Finance Tags:

Update: Modification of FD Memo No. 1491-F dtd. 02.04.2020

Update: Validity of FD Memo No. 1491-F dtd. 02.04.2020 extended upto 31.03.2021

Government of West Bengal
Finance Department
Audit Branch (Group T)

No. 1491-F(Y) Date: 02.04.2020

MEMORANDUM

Sub: Additional austerity measures to be followed for combating COVID19

Government of West Bengal has been taking all necessary measures to combat the spread of COVID 19 disease which has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. The State Government is currently required to incur heavy unforeseen expenditure to combat the situation arisen due to such pandemic outbreak. The 21 days lockdown which is currently in force throughout India, has severely affected the economy of the Country and the State.

A] Under such circumstances, in order to tackle the situation and in the interest of public service, the Governor is pleased to impose the following austerity measures in continuation to the economy circular issued vide 4201-F(P)/FA/0/2M/71/18(NB) dated 02.07.2018:

  1. No new scheme is to be taken up. This will also be applicable for all construction activities except urgent repair and maintenance. In case any new scheme is urgently required for public interest, obtaining prior of approval of Finance Department will be mandatory.
  2. Scope of existing schemes shall in no case be enhanced except with the prior approval of Finance Department.
  3. No purchase of vehicles, computers and IT related accessories, furniture, ACs, water coolers, TV, office equipments, etc will be allowed.
  4. In case any urgent purchase is necessary for utilization of the newly constructed public buildings, like schools, colleges, libraries, hospitals or any such institutions, prior permission of the Finance Department will be required.
  5. No expenditure on renovation, decoration, furnishing, etc. of office buildings including chambers of public officials will be allowed.
  6. There shall be no hiring of additional vehicles unless specifically sanctioned by the Finance Department.
  7. There shall be no recruitment/engagement of manpower unless approved by the Finance Department.
  8. Refreshment, etc. to be provided in the meetings shall have to be kept at bare minimum.
  9. All journeys should be made as per entitled class. Wherever air travel is permissible, it must be done in the Economy Class and not in Executive or Business Class.
  10. No payment of House Building Advance in respect of All India Services officers (IAS, IPS & IFS) is to be done.
  11. Withdrawal from GPF only for treatment, education and marriage purposes will be allowed.
  12. No payment for Motor Cycle Advance or Computer Advance is to be done.

B] Exceptions:

However, the following items of expenditure will not come under the purview of this order:

  1. All types of salary, wages and pension.
  2. All types of social and welfare schemes like Kanyashree, Rupashree, Khadyasathi, Jay Bangla, Samajik Suraksha Yojana, Sikhashree, Swasthya Sathi, Bangla Fasal Bima Yojana, etc.
  3. All Centrally Sponsored and Central Sector Schemes including fund of 14th and 15th Finance Commission.
  4. All health matters related with control of Pandemic COVID-19 as may be approved by the Health and Family Welfare Department.

C] The Delegation of Financial power for sanctioning of new project/Scheme and revision of existing Project/ Scheme during the first quarter of 2020-21 will be as follows:

  1. Works Departments – from Rs. 10 crore to Rs. 1 crore.
  2. Other Departments – from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 10 lakh.

All the above noted measures except (C) will also be applicable to all State PSUs, Undertakings, Statutory Bodies, Autonomous institutions, Rural and Urban Local Bodies and all other Govt-aided institutions.

This will take immediate effect and will remain valid upto 30.06.2020 or until further order, whichever is earlier.

Sd/- H.K. Dwivedi
Additional Chief Secretary to the
Government of West Bengal

No. 1491-F dated 02.04.2020, Source