Fiscal deficit reaches 96% of full-year target in 7 months
New Delhi: India's fiscal deficit at the end of October hit 96.1 per cent of the budget estimate for 2017- 18, mainly due to lower revenue realisation and rise in expenditure.
In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit -- the difference between expenditure and revenue -- was Rs 5.25 lakh crore during April-October of 2017-18, according to data of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA).
During the same period of 2016-17, the deficit stood at 79.3 per cent of the target.
For 2017-18, the government aims to bring down the fiscal deficit to 3.2 per cent of GDP. Last fiscal, it had met the 3.5 per cent target.
The CGA data showed that the government's revenue receipts were at Rs 7.29 lakh crore in the seven months of the current fiscal, which work out to 48.1 per cent of the budget estimate (BE) of Rs 15.15 lakh crore for the entire year.
The receipts, comprising taxes and other items, were at 50.7 per cent of the target in the year-ago period.
As per the data, the government's total expenditure was Rs 12.92 lakh crore at October-end, or 60.2 per cent of the budget estimate. It was 58.2 per cent of the budget estimate a year ago.
Capital expenditure during April-October of 2017-18 was only 52.6 per cent of the BE compared to 50.7 per cent in the same period of the previous fiscal. Revenue expenditure, including interest payment, was 61.5 per cent of the BE during April-October 2017-18. This compares with 59.2 per cent a year earlier.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said he intends to be on track on lowering fiscal deficit even as the figure for April-October hit 96.1 per cent of budget estimates.
"The FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) report is under consideration. The last three years, we have an exemplary record as far as maintaining that glide path is concerned. We intend to move on that track," Jaitley said at the HT Leadership Summit here.
The government has budgeted to bring down fiscal deficit to 3.2 per cent of GDP in 2017-18, from 3.5 per cent in the previous year.
According to official data released on Thursday, fiscal deficit, which is the difference between government expenditure and revenues, in April-October touched the 96.1 per cent mark of the budget estimates. The finance ministry is scheduled to review next month its fiscal deficit target for the year to March 2018.
The finance minister said the 2018-19 Budget, which will be unveiled on February 1, will focus more on infrastructure and rural sectors.
He further talked about the political opinion and willingness in India not yet ready for privatisation of PSU banks.
"For any reform to take place, the political acceptability of that reform has to be there. And though I would be in favour of a large number of reforms, I am pragmatic enough to realise that I don't think political opinion in India is still ready to take that decision," he added.
The government had last month announced an unprecedented Rs 2.11-lakh crore capital infusion into PSU banks to be spread over two years. High non-performing assets have taken a toll on the profitability of public lenders.