The Finance Ministry has asked all Ministries and departments not to initiate any new scheme in the current financial year and said that there is a need to use resources prudently in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

However, funds for schemes under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package and any other special package or announcement would be allocated, according to an office memorandum by the Department of Expenditure, which comes under the Finance Ministry.

Also, schemes that are already approved for the current financial year will remain suspended till March 31 next year or further orders. This would also include those schemes for which in-principle approval has been given by the Department.

“It may be appreciated that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an unprecedented demand on public financial resources and a need to use resources prudently in accordance with emerging and changing priorities,” the Expenditure Department said adding that it has been receiving many new proposals for in-principle approval from various Ministries or Departments.

“No new proposals for a scheme/sub-scheme should be initiated this year (2020-21) except the proposals announced under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package and any other special package/announcement,” it said.

With regard to the existing ongoing schemes, the department said it has already given an interim extension till March 31, 2021, or till the date the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission come into effect, whichever is earlier.

“No funds may be released for schemes that are not in strict conformity to the instructions…nor should budgetary provisions be made available by re-appropriation to such schemes,” it said adding any exceptions to these guidelines would require approval of the expenditure department.

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