The Compulsion Of Simple Living

Faced with near-bankruptcy, the Assam government has initiated far-reaching austerity measures in government spending, coming down hard on facilities for officers and banning fresh recruitment in government departments.The 19-month-old Tarun Gogoi government, struggling hard to pay salaries to its 5-lakh strong workforce, has ordered 10 per cent cut on fuel expenditure across the board. All officers, except the chief secretary and the DGP, will have to do away with their escort vehicles.

Although, the notification is silent on ministers, Gogoi is clear that members of his cabinet will have to show the way. Says he: “Unless we begin to set an example ourselves, no one will be willing to cut costs.” So, ministers have been asked to refrain from purchasing new air conditioners, new cars and avoid frequent tours outside the state. As for officials, they will have to do away with peons in their homes, mobile phones, unlimited STD facility and air travel. Besides, none of them will be allowed to attend foreign training courses, seminars or workshops with the state government paying all expenses. As part of the austerity drive, there will be a complete ban on creation of new posts under all schemes.