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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Yogi govt treads cautiously on proposal to scrap ‘irrelevant’ allowances

lucknow Updated: Oct 11, 2019 20:24 IST
Hindustantimes
         

The Yogi Adityanath government is treading cautiously while undertaking austerity measures, especially a purported proposal to scrap some more employees’ allowances that have lost their relevance in Uttar Pradesh.

For now, the government appears to be keeping its cards close to its chest on the matter

“We have no proposal to scrap any such allowances given to employees at this stage,” minister for finance Suresh Khanna said.

Despite Khanna’s assertion, people with knowledge of the issue said the state government was revisiting the proposal to scrap more allowances.

The perks that may go in the coming months include orderly allowance (₹ 00 to 200 per month), design allowance (₹ 100 to 300 per month), provident fund maintenance allowance (25 paise per account per month) and research allowance (₹100). These are being paid in two major departments —the public works department and the irrigation department.

The coming months may witness more such measures as an exercise to cut down wasteful expenditure has been intensified.

A proposal to go ahead with move to scrap some of the allowances was returned by the state cabinet on October 1 without a decision on the issue.

Senior officers said chief minister Yogi Adityanath wanted to consider all the details and take complete feedback before going ahead with any move.

In August, the state government had scrapped six allowances given to its employees for knowing two languages, computer operation (to promote use of computers), post graduate allowance, cash handling allowance, project allowance and the voluntary family welfare allowance given for having two or less than two children.

“Our objective is to reduce wasteful expenditure. We have recently closed down 46 sub treasuries,” said Khanna.

“We have also decided to nullify the law that provided that income tax on salaries of members of the council of ministers be paid by the state treasury,” he said.

The state government had begun the exercise to cut down wasteful expenditure and identify allowances that had lost relevance following the recommendations of a committee constituted to suggest austerity measures after implementing the seventh pay commission proposals in 2016.

After assuming power in 2017, the Yogi Adityanath government began working on austerity measures. On September 18, 2018, the then chief secretary Anup Chandra Pandey issued a four-page order, listing steps to cut wasteful expenditure.

It was decided that barring the medical and health department and the police, no other department will be allowed to create new posts.

The state government decided to scrap all non-essential posts and accommodate the staff elsewhere. The hiring of staff was allowed only through outsourcing in unavoidable circumstances.

A ban was imposed on holding government functions, conferences and seminars. in private hotels.

A decision not to host government dinners in five-star hotels was taken. It was also decided that no new-year diaries, calendars, greeting cards and letter heads will be printed and travel expenditure will be brought down by holding video conferences and communicating through emails. Only economy class air travel has been allowed though exceptions can be made in unavoidable circumstances.

First Published: Oct 11, 2019 19:46 IST

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