Centre’s New Travel Policy for Government Employees Confirms India is on the Road to Bankruptcy, but the Government is Hesitant to Accept it.
To cut down on wasteful spending, the Finance Ministry has instructed government employees to choose the ‘lowest fare available’ on their entitled travel class and buy air tickets at least three weeks before their date of departure for trips and LTC. The Ministry urges employees to book one ticket for each leg of travel and make bookings even if the itinerary has not yet been approved. The Ministry also advises employees to avoid ‘unnecessary cancellations’ as much as possible.
Air tickets for government employees are now available exclusively from three authorised travel agents: Balmer Lawrie & Co, Ashok Travel & Tours, and IRCTC. If employees purchase plane tickets on the government account less than 72 hours before intended travel on tour or cancel within 24 hours before intended travel, a self-declared justification must be submitted by employees.
The Department of Expenditure memorandum states that employees should select flights at the best available fare for their travel class, preferably for nonstop flights in a given time slot. Following the instructions, the tickets for all employees on a tour should be purchased through a single travel agent, and no fees should be paid to the booking agents.
“To take advantage of the best price and to reduce the impact on the exchequer, employees are encouraged to book their airline tickets at least 21 days before their scheduled trip or LTC travel,” the statement continued. A revised directive also encourages employees to book tickets online through the self-booking tools or online booking websites and portals of the three authorised travel agencies.
There should be only one ticket purchased per leg of the journey by employees. Employees are not allowed to possess more than one ticket. However, when an emergency occurs or an exceptional situation arises, a maximum of two tickets may be purchased for alternate flights in different time slots for the same leg of the trip with a self-declared reason. The relaxation must be granted only by a Joint Secretary or higher if it is unavoidable to order a ticket from an unlicensed travel agent or website.
In addition, Expenditure Department asked that all ministries and departments pay their travel agents within 30 days after the journey ends and that officers submit a certificate/undertaking certifying their travel within 72 hours after it has been completed. Ministries are supposed to pay all previous outstanding debts to their travel agents by August 31, 2022, and mileage points will not be awarded when travelling on government accounts.
As the fiscal expenses are already high following the cuts in excise duty on gasoline and diesel, customs duty reductions for some commodities, and a larger fertiliser subsidy, free food for the underprivileged, the Ministry aims to stop wasteful spending.
Is India on the road to Bankruptcy?
Has the Modi government caused India to go “bankrupt” due to a massive accumulated fiscal deficit? What other reason is there for the government to support programmes like Agnipath Scheme and the Cheap Fare Travel Policy, which aim to cut back on government spending? These government actions only serve to impede the process of recovery at a time when the nation is still recuperating from the pandemic’s aftershocks, and the economy is working to regain stability.
All rational people should be alarmed by the country’s government’s decision to pursue this path toward economic bankruptcy. The effects of such policies on the economy, banking culture, fiscal health, and other factors have not been calculated. The Modi administration is adamant about trying to lower its deficit and save money through ineffective policies rather than creating employment and jobs for the growing unemployed population and making efforts to reduce the inflationary pressures in the economy.
The backs of citizens have been broken by inflation. Not only is the economy in ruins as a result of COVID-19, but it also began with the demonetization and the improper implementation of GST. The Narendra Modi government, which came to power on a slogan of “achhe din,” has destroyed the nation’s economy. Under BJP control, the four pillars of the economy—investment, employment, savings, and consumption—have all collapsed.
The goal of making India’s economy a $5 trillion economy will have to be passed if the government does not discover measures to increase consumption, reverse the economic downturn, and inject more money into the country’s economy.
Edited by Prakriti Arora