New Delhi: The issue of austerity measures
came up at the meeting of the union cabinet with ministers
seeking clarification on the economy drive launched by the
The issue came up for an impromptu discussion when the
cabinet gave its approval to hike the Dearness Allowance for
central government employees from 22 per cent to 27 per cent.
Cabinet sources said Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar
sought to know what sort of reception he should organise for
his foreign counterpart on an official visit here who had
hosted him time back.
Another minister pointed out that the External Affairs
Minister and the Commerce Minister travel abroad frequently on
official business suggesting that there should be laxity in
austerity guidelines for them.
In a lighter vein, another minister remarked that if the
airline upgrades an official travelling economy class as the
aircraft is empty, it should be considered as a commercial
It was clarified that official dinners could be organised
appropriately but conferences by government departments and
ministries should not be held in five-star hotels.
The ministers said they would abide by the guidelines
issued by the Finance Ministry.