No bouquets and lunch please, save money: FM to organisers
An article by Rakhi Jagga
Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal gives away prizes to the winners of a lucky coupon scheme, in Ludhiana on Thursday.
Small savings dept function:In a cost-cutting measure, Manpreet Badal tells officials not to make additional expenditure on garlands and mementos for leaders
Charity begins at home. The Finance Minister of cash-strapped Punjab, Manpreet Badal, seems to have taken the saying quite seriously. He ordered the small savings department not to unnecessarily spend money on the visits of ministers, including himself.
Ahead of a function of the department, organised at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan here on Thursday, the minister passed an order that said: “In the function, no extra expenditure should be made for me and other leaders. No money should be spent on garlands, bouquets, mementos and even lunch.”
The small savings agents should be, however, given refreshments like before, added the order, which was complied with.
Refreshments such as kaju barfi and fried cashews were presented before the minister and other leaders, but the size of the plates was smaller than before. Manpreet, however, did not eat anything, though he did help himself to diet cola twice.
He said such savings should start from each department as crores are wasted every year on pleasing the “chief guests”. “Punjab should save its each penny, and such savings should start from the small savings department functions,” added Manpreet.
The FM is already famous for driving his own car and having minimum security.
Chief guests and guests of honour at government functions are usually given silver plated mementos, shawls and bouquets, besides being garlanded without fail, which incur a lot of expenditure. Lunches and dinners, for which the best caterers are engaged to serve an elaborated menu, also cost a fortune.
Manpreet advised that if all leaders started following these norms, the state could save a lot.
The FM gave away prizes to the winners of the small savings department’s 34th lucky coupon scheme.
Following his instructions to control expenses, the department has reduced the prize money of its 35th lucky coupon scheme. While the first prize of Rs 20 lakh has been reduced to half, the rule of two second prizes of Rs 5 lakh each has been scrapped and there will be only second prize. Director, Small Savings, S S Khara said this was done according to a government policy.
The first prize for the 34th lucky coupon scheme went to Kalu Ram, a carpenter in Bandiwal village of Fazilka. He had invested Rs 40,000 and in the National Small Saving Scheme for more than seven years. He said he would spend the prize money of Rs 20 lakh on the education of his two daughters and a son.