India’s fiscal deficit up to February was 20% more than the revised estimates for FY18
India’s fiscal deficit up to February was 20% more than the revised estimates for FY18 because of increased expenditure and subdued revenue receipts. Experts say that nontax revenues would now be crucial if North Block were to meet its FY18 fiscal-deficit target.”The extent to which the nontax revenues can be shored up in March 2018 would crucially determine if the actual fiscal deficit for FY2018 breaches the revised estimate of Rs 5.94 lakh crore,” said Aditi Nayar, principal economist, ICRA.
In the revised estimates for FY18, finance minister Arun Jaitley had in the budget presented on February 1estimated a fiscal deficit of 3.5% of GDP against the initial assessment of 3.2% of GDP.Fiscal deficit for FY19 is budgeted at 3.3% of GDP.Fiscal deficit in the April-Feb period stood at Rs 7.15 lakh crore, exceeding the revised target of Rs 5.94 lakh crore for the entire 2017-18 fiscal, as per data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA).
The monthly account until February-end revealed that the government has collected Rs 12.83 lakh crore revenue, which is 79.09% of revised estimates.Of this, over Rs 10.35 lakh crore is collected from taxes, while over Rs 1.42 lakh crore and Rs 1.05 lakh crore accrued on account of nontax revenue and non-debt capital receipts, respectively.
Tax revenues are the highest in March. The government is expected to meet the target.Non-debt capital receipts consist of recovery of loans of Rs13,301 crore. Besides, Rs 92,493 crore has been mopped up through PSU disinvestment until February-end. In the revised estimates for 2017-18, the government had raised the disinvestment target to Rs 1lakh crore, up from Rs 72,500 crore in the Budget estimates.
The government also expects more dividend from the Reserve Bank of India, which should lift the non-tax revenues.Total expenditure incurred by the government during the period was more than Rs 19.99 lakh crore, which is 90.1% of the revised estimates for 2017-18.
The Economic Times, New Delhi, 29th March 2018