FinMin mulling 75% discount in international journey finances for FY22

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on mobility could lead to a 75 percent reduction in funding allocations for international travel in FY22, a senior Treasury official said.

The government will cut “frivolous spending” if all activities are in virtual mode, Madnesh Kumar Mishra, joint secretary at the Treasury Department, said in an event organized by XLRI.

It should be noted that the budget for the next financial year is currently in preparation and officials are also holding discussions on proposals both internally and with external stakeholders.

“Two days ago I took part in a budget proposal, of course the budget is now being prepared, how much money do you need for trips abroad? We only invested a quarter of what we had projected last year because there are no travel expenses abroad at all, “said Mishra.

Mishra said videoconferencing is the new normal and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually addressed events like multilateral meetings, adding that there will be a lot of cost savings associated with them.

Mishra stated that working from home was the new normal. Even businesses are trying to cut costs on this new phenomenon by renting less space and spending less on travel, which in turn helps them maximize their profits.

The pandemic has had emotional and psychological effects and social interactions are limited. The experiences of the past few months would also lead to a change in the design of the home, as provisions would be made for a home office.

Mishra said the pandemic has also given us a new term “vaccine nationalism” as countries rush to book capacity for providing the anti-points to their populations.

In the first days of the lockdown, the entire government apparatus had to be up and running as it was obvious that there would be requirements for banks and insurance companies, he said.

Without going into the context of the meeting, Mishra said in January, there was a meeting of industrialists from different sectors with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, which was also attended by Road and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari, at which none of the 300 industrialists found a solution.

During the three-hour meeting, industrialists only asked the government for concessions, and not a single one said they would start their own business, he said, adding that such behavior was the genesis of the prime minister’s call to advocate something local.

Mishra also exuded confidence that growth will return soon and is optimistic about that too. PTI AA MKJ

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