Kumaraswamy hits panic button, orders cost cuts

Kumaraswamy hits panic button, orders cost cuts

H D Kumaraswamy

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Sunday announced austerity measures to cut “unnecessary expenditure” in what will be Karnataka’s second economy drive in a decade.

According to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), Kumaraswamy has specifically directed the bureaucrats to review the proposals submitted by various departments, offices and agencies for buying cars. The directive, however, comes after the government approved the purchase of about 20 multi-purpose vehicles for the would-be ministers.

Kumaraswamy also issued directions so as to discourage “unnecessary” refurbishing and renovation of government offices and official residences. This, too, comes even as the renovation work is going on in full swing at the Vidhana Soudha.

“The chief minister has instructed the officials to cut down all unnecessary expenditure, if any, in administration accordingly,” the CMO said, without specifying the aspects in administration where cost-cutting should be done.

The government is yet to issue a written order spelling out the modalities of this economy drive.

Kumaraswamy’s austerity drive follows his announcement of a farm loan waiver, for which the government is chalking out a plan to ensure it does not adversely impact the state’s fiscal situation. Kumaraswamy is also slated to start discussions on preparing a new budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Similar austerity measures were taken up in 2009 when B S Yeddyurappa was chief minister and North Karnataka was ravaged by floods. Yeddyurappa ordered a 10% cut in the government’s non-plan budget and that four months of allowances of government employees be directed toward flood relief.