Under fire, govt to cut down on meet expenses | indore | Hindustan Times
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Under fire, govt to cut down on meet expenses

indore Updated: Sep 30, 2016 13:01 IST
Manoj Ahuja, Indore
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The Madhya Pradesh government, which has faced criticism for huge expenditure on celebrity chefs during the last Global investors’ Summits, decided to curtail catering budget for this year’s meet.

The government also looks to reduce other sundry expenses to ensure that total expenditure does not overshoot the budget for the October 22-23 meet, sources said.

The expenditure for investor’s meet held in Indore in 2014 had overshot budget limit by 47%, mainly due to high catering and logistics charges, reveals documents obtained through Right to Information. The government spent nearly Rs 25 crore for organising the mega event.

The Global Investors’ Summit is a biennial meet organised by the Madhya Pradesh government to boost investment flows from India and abroad.

In 2014, the government had allocated Rs 11.59 crore for sundry expenditures, but it ended up spending Rs 16.91 crore. The total expenditure, including the amount paid to consultants including Ernst and Young, JWT and the government departments, came to Rs 24.83 crore.

The budget overshot mainly due to catering charges that climbed up to Rs 2.27 crore as against the budget estimate of Rs 70 lakh.

The expenses under this overhead included lunch for about 4,000 guests for three days and one dinner apart from high tea.

This year, the state government decided to shorten the duration of the summit to two days and hold a separate event for small-scale industry.

“The intention seems to be to invite more serious investors this time around. A curtailed event will improve the focus and better translate into actual investment,” CII Madhya Pradesh vice-chairman Anshul Mittal, told HT.

Industry representatives have cautioned the government against excessive expenditure during the forthcoming summit.

“The government’s fiscal condition is not sound and so it should not splurge on taxpayers’ money. The works for such events should be planned and executed prudently,” Pithampur industry association president Gautam Kothari said.

In 2014, Delhi-based celebrity chef Marut Sikka and his team prepared a sumptuous meal for 4,000-odd guests. The menu for the lunch was divided into two parts -- one for 200 VVIPs and another for the remaining delegates. The VVIP lunch cost `3,000 per plate while that for other delegates cost `1,975 per plate excluding taxes.