Govt to reduce vehicle fleet to cut costs

  • Gaurav Bisht Gaurav Bisht Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Nov 26, 2014 19:34 IST

Bogged down in an acute financial crisis, the state government now plans to reduce the number of vehicles provided to officials to meet its increasingly tight budget. A cabinet subcommittee set up by the government to mobilize revenues is now considering a move to reduce the fleet of official vehicles by at least 20 to 25%.

The panel, headed by irrigation & public health minister Vidya Stokes and including food & transport minister GS Bali and industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri, met last evening to deliberate on ways to generate additional revenues. "We plan to take a number of steps to cut down on the expenditure incurred on government vehicles," said Bali

The panel proposed reducing the number of official vehicles in departments that have more field staff. "Our endeavor is to lower expenses without hurting the public," added Bali, who gave a long list of suggestions at the meeting.

Bali had given up the use of his official car ever since he was appointed a member in the panel while his other colleagues were using more than two official vehicles.

The panel also suggested the government could create a "vehicle pool" for the field staff and the government could bear the expenses for personal vehicles used by the officials and field staff for official duties.

The move is aimed at cutting expenditure incurred on maintaining official vehicles besides salaries of the drivers. Currently there are about 2,500 government vehicles in the state. The panel has already suggested a complete ban on purchase of government vehicles for the next financial year

In a move to check extravagant expenditure, the cabinet subcommittee had earlier proposed a move to curb foreign jaunts of the government functionaries including that of ministers, officers, chairmen and vice-chairmen of various boards and corporations.

The panel now plans to limit tours by officials, with the state's fiscal health deteriorating steadily, the panel also deliberated on other measures to redeem the situation, one of them being lowering the cap on leave encashment entitlement for its employees.

The government's total budget expenditure for fiscal 2014-15 is about Rs 23,613 crore, of which the estimated expenditure on salaries is Rs 7,647 crore. According to budget estimates for FY2014-15, total revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 16,522 crore and total revenue expenditure is pegged at Rs 19,784 crore with a revenue deficit of Rs 3,262 crore.

The expected receipts in the capital account are Rs 3,860 crore apart from Rs 1,125 crore in the public account including provident fund, etc. Capital expenditure including loan repayments is estimated to be Rs 3,830 crore. The fiscal deficit for FY 2014-15 is likely to be Rs 5,354 crore.

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