Maharashtra slashes revenue and capital expenditure

The Maharashtra government has imposed a 30% cut on revenue expenditure and a 20% cut on capital expenditure during the year in view of the likely hit on its finances thanks to the loan waiver and GST. The loan waiver payout is Rs.34,022 crore while the implementation of the goods and services tax will require the state to compensate municipal corporations to the tune of Rs.13,000 crore annually.

In a government resolution issued, the state said that departments would receive 70% of revenue expenditure and 80% of capital expenditure this year. The MLA area development funds will not be affected.

The government has also issued a series of very detailed guidelines to departments to cut costs. These guidelines include avoiding air travel by government officials unless necessary and prioritizing video-conferencing instead. Only authorized officials from the government, corporations, aided institutes and local self-government bodies will be allowed air travel. Unnecessary tours should be avoided and only required officials should be taken along. Also, executive class air travel will now be allowed for additional chief secretary rank officers and above. It was earlier allowed for principal secretary rank and above.

Government departments have also been asked to use their vehicles and fuel efficiently. They have also been asked to not submit proposals for new vehicles.

Offices have been asked to economize in the use of stationery , electricity, telephones and printers, and use scanners instead of taking photocopies to save paper. Departments have been asked to postpone the renovation of offices and fitting of air conditioners.

The guidelines say that the state has reached its limit for borrowings and that departments should not entertain proposals for new borrowings this year.

Permissions for new state-aided schools and divisions as well as new state-aided colleges and vocational training centres should not be given for now. In state-aided schools with low attendance, their necessity should be examined. It should be seen if the students can be accommodated in another school and the school could be shut down. No vacancies for teachers should be filled without the permission of the state. The guidelines also say that state-aided higher educational institutions should be surveyed for student enrolment. If enrolments are low then recognition should be cancelled. By reducing posts and not filling vacant posts, expenses can be curtailed. The same guidelines will apply to state aided vocational training centres.

In general, departments have been asked to use pending budgets before asking for more money and complete work before seeking permission for new projects. All departments have to follow the state's procurement guidelines while making purchases.

The PWD has been asked to review existing works and not give permission for new work till pending jobs have been finished. Also, the state has been asked to take a review of the money pending in irrigation corporations due to long-pending works. After seeking the governor's permission, unspent money should be returned by the corporations to the state.

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