New Delhi, May 14 : In addition to contributing one month’s salary to the PMCARES Fund in March, President Ram Nath Kovind has decided to adopt a slew of austerity measures including to forego 30 per cent of his salary for a year and not take up any new capital works in Rashtrapati Bhavan in FY 2020-21.
These austerity measures will save nearly 20 percent of the budget of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the current financial year, it is estimated. In the First Citizen's estimation, this will be a "small but significant contribution to realise the government’s vision of making India self-reliant (Atmanirbhar)" and energise the nation to take up the challenge to fight the pandemic and continue our journey for development and prosperity simultaneously. The President has given instructions to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to set an example by economising the expenditure, making optimal use of resources, and dovetailing the saved money to combat Covid-19 and mitigate the people’s economic plight.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique here said domestic tours and programmes will be substantially reduced in order to follow the social distancing restrictions and minimise the expenditure that such exercises entail. Instead, the President will largely rely on technology to reach out to people. To reduce expenditure, Rashtrapati Bhavan will not take up any new capital works in FY 2020- 21 and only ongoing works will be completed. Repair and maintenance work will be minimised to only ensure proper upkeep of assets.
Also, there will be substantial reduction in the use of office consumables - using e-technology to cut down use of paper to avoid wastage and make the office eco-friendly. Efforts will be made to save energy and fuel by rationalising their usage. According to the communnique, the President has decided to defer purchase of the Presidential limousine which was to be used for ceremonial occasions. The existing resources of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Government will be shared and used for such occasions. Further, consumption during ceremonial occasions such as At-Home ceremonies and state banquets will be minimised by taking measures like keeping smaller guest lists to maintain social distance, lesser usage of flowers and other decorative items on such occasions, and reducing the food menu to the extent possible. Meanwhile, it will be ensured that such austerity measures would have no adverse impact on support given to outsourced/contractual workers. Other activities taken up by the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the welfare of poor people will not be affected either. (UNI)