Austerity Drive: Ministers Urged to Travel Economy Class

To further austerity drive as urged by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, UPA ministers have been advised to travel in economy class and avoid holding press conference in five-star hotels, said reports.

Media reports quoted a senior official as saying, “All the ministers have been advised to travel in economy class and not to hold press conferences in five-star hotels to save money in adverse times.”

The instruction came in the wake of senior congress ministers SM Krishna and Shashi Tharoor being asked to shift from five-star hotels where they were staying as renovation work was on in their official bungalows.

“She (Sonia Gandhi) wants the party leaders to set an example by following a simple lifestyle as a mark of concern for those facing adverse conditions,” IANS quoted a senior party leader as saying.

In keeping with the austerity drive, Parliamentary Affairs Mininster PK Bansal has even cancelled his goodwill visit to Egypt and Greece to save money. He was scheduled to head a 10-member delegation that was to leave on September 28.

Last month, during a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on drought, Sonia Gandhi had advised all party ministers, MPs and legislators to donate 20 per cent of their salary for drought relief measures to their respective state governments.

She had also suggested that party workers adopt “austerity measures” so that their public and private lives “reflect concern for those who are less fortunate”.

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