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UPA ministers asked to travel economy class

IANS  New Delhi, September 10, 2009
First Published: 13:59 IST(10/9/2009) | Last Updated: 14:03 IST(10/9/2009)

In keeping with Congress president Sonia Gandhi's call to observe austerity measures, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ministers have been advised to travel in economy class and not hold press conferences in five-star hotels, cabinet sources said on Thursday.

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"All the ministers have been advised to travel in economy class and not to hold press conferences in five-star hotels to save money in adverse times," a senior official said.

The instructions come in the backdrop of two senior Congress ministers S M Krishna and Shashi Tharoor being asked to move out of five-star hotels where they were staying as they were still to be allotted official bungalows.

"She (Sonia Gandhi) wants the party leaders to set an example by following a simple lifestyle as a mark of concern for those facing adverse conditions," a senior party leader told IANS.

According to cabinet sources, in keeping with the austerity drive, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal has cancelled his goodwill trip to Egypt and Greece in order to save money.

He was to lead a 10-member delegation that was to leave Sep 28.

Last month, during a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on drought, Sonia Gandhi had advised all party ministers, MPs and legislators to donate 20 percent of their salary for drought relief measures to their respective state governments.

She had also suggested that party workers adopt "austerity measures" so that their public and private lives "reflect concern for those who are less fortunate".


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