Mamata Banerjee launches austerity drive to repay loans, improve public schemes; Bengal CM tells officers to curb 'avoidable expenses'

Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said her government plans to cut down on the expenses of various departments, and effectively utilise them for repaying loans and on schemes for public benefits.

Banerjee, however, said that keeping a check on the expenditure would not have any effect on public schemes like 'Kanyashree'.

File photo of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee

File photo of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee

"We have to keep a check on the expenses by different departments. We must not spend money where there is no need for it. But, that does not mean that we will curtail funds meant for public services. We won't compromise on public schemes," she said after a meeting on expenditure.

The meeting, the first of its kind by the Trinamool Congress, was attended by Chief Secretary Malay De, besides other senior officials of departments, including financial advisors and directors.

The state government had earlier this week issued a notification, asking its officers to curtail "avoidable expenditure".

The notification asked for curbs on frequent travel of officials to Delhi and other states, and holding conferences and meetings at star hotels.

The 'Circular of Economic Measures' spelled out measures such as using video conferencing, instead of calling district officials to Kolkata.

It proposed restrictions on the creation of new posts, purchase of new vehicles and offering expensive gifts.

Stressing that the West Bengal government has to shell out Rs 5,000 crore to pay the DA for employees as well as Rs 46,000 crore to repay loans to the Centre, Banerjee said that the excess funds could also be utilised for these purposes.

So far, the state has repaid loans to the tune of Rs 2.24 lakh crore to the Central government.

The CM also highlighted that the total state Budget rose from Rs 11,000 crore in 2011 to Rs 80,000 crore this year.

Banerjee said various departments had performed well and as a result, the plan expenditure has gone up five times.

"The capital expenditure has gone up by nine times, while the physical expenditure went up by four times, and social expenses by more than four times," she said.

Banerjee added that her government would initiate training for engineers at the PWD department in this connection.

Updated Date: Jul 06, 2018 08:42 AM

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