From use of CFLs to ACs, cash-hit Kerala govt lists austerity steps
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Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs, switching off lights while leaving a room, setting air-conditioners at not less than 26 degrees Celsius and a blanket ban on public sector firms printing calendars and diaries — these are some of the measures that a debt-laden Kerala government has listed for its officials as it tries to pull out of the red.
"In order to achieve fiscal consolidation... it is expedient that some measures are urgently put in place to bring down administrative expenditure," the Kerala finance department said in a recent circular.
In 2011-12, Kerala's total debt stood at Rs 89,283.83 crore, which is expected to rise further to Rs 1,01,179.17 crore. The Centre has turned down its repeated requests for a debt waiver.
Administrative departments have been directed to limit non-plan expenditure within budgeted targets while spending on travel, electricity, telephone and fuel has been restricted.
The missive also calls for replacing leaking taps and buying fuel-efficient vehicles. State electricity and water boards have been directed to take action against power and water thefts.
The government has also told departments to conserve paper by taking printouts on both sides of a sheet, while avoiding printing as far as possible.
"The austerity measures are a part of a long-term fiscal consolidation process," said V P Joy, principal secretary, finance.
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