Kolkata: The state Finance department has directed a number of state departments to seek its prior approval when it comes to spending over Rs 10 lakh on construction of office buildings and redesigning the interiors. The move is a part of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's call for austerity drive in administrative affairs.
"We have found out that in a number of cases, departments spend huge amounts on decorating the chambers of ministers and departmental heads. At times, when a minister is replaced by another minister who takes charge of the department, the latter asks for a complete renovation of the interiors. This turns out to be a costly affair for the concerned department. The Finance department wants to put a leash on this expenditure," a senior official of the state secretariat Nabanna said.
There has also been instances when departments have spent exorbitantly while constructing guest houses, new office buildings etc. According to a senior official in the state Finance department, the state government is in favour of undertaking such expenditures within Rs 10 lakh. It has asked departments to seek permission from the Finance department before spending more than the stipulated amount.
In a notification issued by the state finance department, it has stated: "For incurring such expenditure, prior approval of the Finance department should be obtained. Administrative departments shall also send the proposals to the finance department for approval of projects as stated above, for which the tender has already been floated or work order has been issued after April 1, 2017; but work is in progress till date".
Presently, the heads of some departments, namely the Public Works Department, Urban Development & Municipal Affairs, Panchayats & Rural Development, Health & Family Welfare, Irrigation & Waterways, Water Resources Investigation & Development and Public Health Engineering & housing approve projects amounting upto Rs 20 crore.
The rest of the departments can approve projects worth upto Rs 10 crore within the budgetary allocation with concurrence of financial advisers.