Agartala: In a bid to cope up with the economic situation arising due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tripura government has decided to cut short on expenditures by adopting a series of austerity measures, said law minister Ratan Lal Nath.

Speaking at a press conference, Nath said that the state cabinet has decided to cut short the expenditures in all departments, state PSUs, co-operatives, societies, local bodies, both rural and urban, and other autonomous bodies.

“All the government departments have been asked to reduce their expenditures and other contingent expenditure by 15%. The departments have been asked to make rational use of central government funds allocated under flagship schemes so that there’s no pressure on the state government funds. The departments were also asked to ensure a minimum growth of 10% in non-tax revenue collections,” Nath said.

He also said that officers, having the facilities of internet, were instructed to use e-mails for official communication to avoid use of paper.

“There shall be a ban on the purchase of new vehicles, except those wholly funded under any Central scheme (MOPF, etc). No new vehicle shall be purchased from the fund under state budget. All departments, PSUs, autonomous organisations and cooperative societies have been instructed to reduce power and telephone bills by 10%,” Nath added.

The government has also instructed that land acquisition should be avoided in all cases where the money is to be paid out of the state budget as land acquisition entails huge expenditure. Land acquisitions would only be permitted in case of public donations or gift deeds.

“Any government fair, exhibition or public event would need the chief minister’s approval from now on. Even if such events are approved, they would have to be organised at a minimum expense,” Nath said.

He also said that the 15th Finance Commission has expressed its serious concern regarding few states including Tripura with very high relative per capita expenditure on salaries, pensions and interest payment and has asked them to initiate steps to review and rationalise such expenditure and reduce their proportion to total revenue expenditure. State Economy Board may take steps to rationalise manpower including redeployment wherever possible.

A survey would be held on all PSUs and ‘necessary steps’ would be taken to reduce losses in loss-making PSUs to reduce the financial burden on the government, Nath added.

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