5 June:The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has written to all Union Ministers urging austerity in the wake of the rise in oil prices. The text of the Prime Minister’s letter is as follows:
“You are aware of the huge burden imposed on our financial resources due to the continuously rising trend in global oil prices and our dependence on import of crude. As we initiate steps to meet this resource crunch, it is inevitable that some of the burden would have to be borne by the public. We need to explain to the people the constraints and reasons that have compelled the Government to introduce these measures. Simultaneously, however, it is equally necessary for us to introduce the utmost economy in our own administrations and establishments. It cannot be denied that there is substantial scope to reduce expenditure on travel and administration. As we ask the people to bear some of the financial burden of our oil imports, it is not only necessary from the resource conservation point of view but also as a moral duty to cut out all wasteful expenditure in our own establishments.
I am, therefore, writing to ask you to severely curtail expenditure on air travel, particularly foreign travel, except in cases where it is deemed to be absolutely necessary. This economy may be made applicable immediately for your own self and also for all senior functionaries in your Ministry.
While instructions will be issued to the Cabinet Secretary to introduce more rigorous scrutiny of foreign travel proposals, the best prudence can be exercised at your own level with regard to both foreign and local travel for you and your officers. I seek your fullest cooperation in this matter of importance and urgency.”