NEW DELHI: The Central government, which is reviewing the economic cost of the lockdown imposed to contain spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, is considering cutting down on the non-essential expenditure announced in the latest budget.
“This is an extraordinary situation and given the fact that there was already slowdown, the government is spending the money judiciously. So, there will be cutting some of the non-essential expenditure announced in the budget, which can wait till next year,” a senior finance ministry official told TNIE.
The official added that the government is keeping a close watch over the situation and will soon hold a high-level meeting with officials from the finance ministry, Prime Minister’s Office and representatives from key ministries.
“This is time to recalibrate the resources and to use them judiciously. A meeting is likely to take place before April 15, where the ministries will have to suggest the items that are non-essential and can be pushed for a later period,” the official added.
The finance ministry is already working on a second relief package for the Indian economy hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak and the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
It has already announced a slew of measures, including Rs 1.70 lakh crore relief package in the form of food grains and cash transfers for the poor and vulnerable sections.
Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet on Monday approved a 30 per cent reduction in salary and allowances of the Members of Parliament for one year.
Also, the President, Vice-President and the governors have voluntarily decided to take a pay cut as a concerted effort to aid the fight to contain the deadly virus.
The government has also decided to suspend the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), and the funds will be directed towards improving medical infrastructure. An MP gets `5 crore every year as part of the MPLADS.