The executive order for slashing the salaries of parliamentarians and the voluntary pay cut by the President and Governors, has sent a subtle message down the line to the 200-odd boards, tribunals and commissions, which also draw a salary from the government.
Among the first to take the hint were the Election Commission, Central Information Commission and the Central Vigilance Commission, which have also decided to take a 30 per cent pay cut for a year.
There was initially a difference of opinion whether the extra funds would go to the PM-Cares or the National Relief Fund. Later, it was decided that the extra funds will be left in the Consolidated Fund of India, said Suresh Chandra, a member of the Central Information Commission.
Sources said the government had initially planned to slash salaries through an order. But it was felt that the officials, constitutional advocates and statutory authorities -- who are retired judges and bureaucrats - can do this voluntarily.
With the coronavirus expected to put a huge dent in the economy, the government's fiscal position has become precarious. The revenue and growth figures are expected to slip.
The World Bank has predicted that India will see growth of just 1.5-2.8 per cent in its current financial year, down from an expected 4.8-5.0 per cent for the year just ended.
Earlier this month, the cabinet passed an executive order to slash salaries of all parliamentarians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The cut comes into effect from April.
The Cabinet also approved the move to suspend the MPLADS scheme for two years - a move that would add an additional Rs 7,900 crore to the Consolidated Fund of India.
Now the government is hoping that it would be able to achieve a voluntary pay cut from the boards, tribunals and commissions, rather than getting it done through an order, sources said.