India is facing a difficult time amid COVID-19. As the GDP data was released on Monday, the numbers were not looking great, plummeting by 23.9% a record low, in the first quarter.
The ministry also seems to be on the verge of budget cuts as per the Suspension of the Hospitality Order issued by the Chief Controller of Accounts.
No more reimbursement of Hospitality expenses
Since Monday, the public has been having an outburst over the dismal GDP data that was released. This is one of the worst performances compared to global economies. Moreover, this is touted as the worst reported performance of the GDP since 1996 in India.
As netizens direct anger to the Ministry of Finance, there's no doubt there has been some debate in recent times over the government's budget cuts. However, last week the Chief Controller of Accounts issued an Office Memorandum saying that "Orders relating to reimbursement of hospitality expenses are hereby suspended with immediate effect till further orders."
This implies that there will be no more snacks at meetings and the like. Due to COVID-19, there has been a massive crunch when it comes to financing in the country, revenue collection has dropped. The idea behind this order is to perhaps cut down on miscellaneous expenditure.
However, people are asking if it will really save the government anything in the long-run. Since the acceptance of the 7th Central Pay Commission, hospitality expenditure was treated as office expenditure.
The finance ministry has been facing an overload of criticism following the reveal of the GDP data, not just from the opposition. Furthermore, many have been demanding that Nirmala Sitharaman step down following the poor performance and for branding COVID-19 an 'Act of God'.