Millennium Post

In just 9 months, fiscal deficit above full-year Budget target

As per the data released by Controller General (CGA) of Accounts on Friday, the fiscal deficit during April-December period was Rs 5.32 lakh crore or 100.2 per cent of the 2014-15 estimate, mainly because of subdued revenue realisation.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has time and again reiterated that the government is committed to restricting the fiscal deficit at 4.1 per cent of the GDP, which would be the lowest in seven years, and has taken several steps towards it.

Friday’s Coal India stake sale by government may help the exchequer garner about Rs 22,500 crore and provide some cushion to it. More disinvestment in blue chip PSUs are likely to take place in the two months. The fiscal deficit - the gap between government expenditure and revenue - during the same period last year was at 95.2 per cent of that year’s target.

The CGA data revealed that government’s net tax revenue collection till December end was Rs 5.46 lakh crore or 55.8 per cent of the Rs 9.77 lakh crore estimated for the whole year. The tax mop-up was slightly higher (58.6 per cent) during the same period last year. Total receipts (from revenue and non-debt capital) during the April-December of the year was Rs 7.04 lakh crore or 55.7 per cent of the target, same as last year. Plan expenditure of the government during the period was Rs 3.52 lakh crore (61.3 per cent) and non-Plan expenditure was Rs 8.8 lakh crore (72.4 per cent), the data said.

The fiscal deficit was over Rs 5.08 lakh crore or 4.5 per cent of GDP in 2013-14. It was 4.9 per cent in 2012-13. The government had put in place a fiscal consolidation roadmap as per which the fiscal deficit has to be brought down to 3 per cent of the GDP by 2016-17. To reduce the fiscal deficit to the seven-year low level, the government has announced a slew of austerity measures aimed at cutting non-plan spending by 10 per cent.
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