As part of austerity drive, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind has instructed his office to set an example by reducing expenditure. For this, he has called for making optimal use of resources and dovetailing the saved money to combat Covid-19 and mitigate financial hardship.
In a statement, the presidential office - the Rashtrapati Bhavan - revealed that it will undertake several measures to reduce its expenditures: it hopes to save nearly 20 percent of the budget of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the current financial year (April 2020- March 2021).
It has been decided that new capital works would not be undertaken in 2020-21 and only the ongoing works will be completed. Repair and maintenance work will be minimised to ensure proper upkeep of assets.
Stating that there will be substantial reduction in the use of office consumables, the presidential office said, “The Rashtrapati Bhavan will use e-technology to cut down the use of paper to avoid wastage and make the office eco-friendly. Efforts will be made to save energy and fuel by rationing their usage.”
President Kovind has also decided to postpone the purchase of the Presidential Limousine, which was to be used for ceremonial occasions.
In a bid to comply with the social distancing restrictions as required by anti-COVID-19 measures, the President of India will also “rely on technology to reach out to people and reduce the domestic tours and programmes”.
“This would also help them to minimise the expenditure that such exercises entail,” it added.
The presidential office has been also instructed that during ceremonial functions such “At-Home” and state banquets, consumption will be minimised by adapting measures such as smaller guest lists to maintain social distance, less usage of flowers and other items for decoration and reducing the food menu.
“This will energise the nation to take up the challenge to fight the pandemic and continue our journey for development and prosperity simultaneously,” the presidential office said.