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NEW DELHI : The coronavirus outbreak has taken yet another toll, the humble government calendars and diaries.

The Union government has decided that 2021 onwards all wall calendars, desktop calendars, diaries, festival greeting cards and other such material printed for internal use and circulation by ministries, departments, public sector undertakings, public sector banks, and all other organizations under the government will be stopped. Instead, it will opt for digital versions.

“Given the prevailing circumstances in which the world is moving towards adopting digital force-multipliers for productivity, the government of India has decided to follow this best practice," the finance ministry said.

However, the ministry did not provide an estimate on how much money it will save with this move. From 2017, the government started publishing only limited copies of Budget documents and Economic Surveys to go green. It asked the media to access the documents online.

“There is to be a concerted effort towards incorporating innovative methods in such matters. Using technological innovations for planning, scheduling, and forecasting is well known to be economical, efficient and effective," it said.

The ministry said publication of coffee table books will also be stopped and use of e-books will be encouraged. “All ministries/ departments/PSUs/ PSBs, and all other organs of the government are to adopt innovative means to use digital or online methods for this. Innovative digital and online solutions, which will achieve the same result as physical calendars or diaries, are to be prioritized and put into practice," it said.

The Union government is facing a severe revenue crunch with the economy shrinking 23.9% in the June quarter, forcing it to cut expenditure wherever possible. The publicity arm had spent 8.8 crore to print 1.9 million calendars and 120,000 diaries, besides posters, booklets and pamphlets, according to the latest available annual report of the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) (FY12). The cost of printed material has grown manifold since. A DAVP spokesperson chose not to give the latest figures.

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