No ban on filling up of posts; recruitment to continue, FinMin after row over circular

There is no restriction or ban on filling up of posts in Govt of India. Normal recruitments through govt agencies will continue, tweets finance ministry

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

The Ministry of Finance has clarified that there are no restrictions on filling up of vacancies in the government of India. The clarification comes a day after the ministry banned creation of new posts, except with the approval of the department of expenditure, in central ministries and offices and bodies.

"There is no restriction or ban on filling up of posts in Govt of India. Normal recruitments through govt agencies like Staff Selection Commission, UPSC, Railways Recruitment Board, etc will continue as usual without any curbs," finance ministry tweeted on Saturday.

The ministry added that the department of expenditure circular dated September 4, 2020, deals with internal procedure for creation of posts and does not in any way affect or curtail recruitment.

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The circular issued on Friday issued a set of instructions for curtailing administrative expenditure amid the coronavirus pandemic in India and save resources for "priority schemes".

"In the context of the present fiscal situation and the consequent pressure on the government resources, there is a need to for further economy and rationalisation of non-priority expenditure...," the finance ministry said in a statement.

The decision came on the back of COVID-19 pandemic crippling India's supply chain, while severely affecting government's revenues.

India's GDP contracted by a record 23.9 per cent to Rs 26.90 lakh crore in April-June period of the financial year 2020-21, compared to compared to Rs 35.35 lakh crore in the corresponding period last year. This is the worst quarterly GDP numbers ever recorded since India started compiling GDP data on a quarterly basis in 1996.

The contraction in nominal GDP numbers means India's fiscal deficit ratio calculated as a percentage of nominal GDP will also look worse.

Also read: India's GDP contraction worst among G-20 countries: IMF's Gita Gopinath

Other administrative expenditure guidelines are:

1) No printing/publishing of books, publications, documents, etc will be done on imported paper, except where printing is done abroad by Indian Missions, etc.

2) Expenditure on functions such as celebrations of Foundation Day, etc. should be discouraged or it felt necessarily be appropriately curtailed. In any case, travel for such functions and provision of bags or mementoes should be avoided.

3) Consultancy assignments -- all ministries/departments may carry out a review of the individual consultants appointed in their respective ministries or departments in consonance with the provisions of GFR and reduce the number of consultants to the minimum requirement.

4) There will be a ban on creation of new posts, except with the approval of department of expenditure, in ministries, attached offices, subordinate offices, statutory bodies and autonomous bodies.

Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi slammed the Modi government for issuing "freeze on hiring" in central ministries and related offices. "The Modi government's thinking: minimum government, maximum privatisation. Covid is just an excuse, the government plan to free government offices of all permanent staff, steal youngster's future and propel its own friends forward," Gandhi said in a Hindi tweet.

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