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Centre’s April-Feb Fiscal Deficit Zooms to 134.2% of Revised Estimate

Government to borrow Rs 7.1 lakh crore in next financial year; Opposition flays ‘mismanagement’ of economy.
Centre’s April-Feb Fiscal Deficit Zooms to 134.2% of Revised Estimate

Image for representational use only.Image Courtesy : Livemint

New Delhi: The Centre’s fiscal deficit – the gap between government spending and earnings from taxes and other sources – shot up to 134.2% of the revised estimate between April and February 2018-19, according to data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Friday.

In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit in the 11 months stood at Rs 8,51 lakh crore against the revised estimate of Rs 6.34 lakh crore, according a report in the Indian Express.

As per the CGA data, the revenue receipts of the Centre during this period were RS 12.25 lakh croreor 73.2% of the revised estimate (RE) in February-end, against Rs 11.77 lakh crore or 78.2% of the RE in the same period last year.

The Centre’s revenue from taxes were at marginally up at Rs 10.94 lakh crore against Rs 10. .35 lakh crore in the same period last year. Non-tax revenue stood at Rs 1.7 lakh crore against Rs 1.42 lakh crore last year.

Despite the fiscal deficit touching a high, the IE report quoted the Economic Affairs Secretary, Subhash Chandra Garg, as saying that the fiscal deficit target continues to stand at 3.4% of gross domestic product (GDP), as stated by the government while presenting the interim budget on February 1, this year.

According to a report in the Hindu Business Line, the government said on Friday that it would borrow over 62% of the Budget estimate during the first six months of the next financial year, starting April 1, to fix the gap between income and spending.

Garg on Friday said the government would borrow Rs 4.42 lakh crore through gilts in the first half of FY20. The borrowing for the second half is set at Rs 2.68 lakh crore.  Overall, total government borrowing in the next financial year is estimated at Rs 7.1 lakh crore.

The report said the higher fiscal deficit was mainly because of the revenue receipts.

According to CGA data, the total spending by the government during April-February 2018-19 stood at Rs 21.88 lakh crore, of which Rs 19.15 lakh crore was on revenue account and Rs 2.73 lakh crore on capital account.

“Out of the total revenue expenditure, Rs 5.01 lakh crore was on account of interest payments and Rs 2.63 lakh crore on major subsidies,” the CGA data said.

According to the Finance Ministry, devolution to states was also higher than last year.

“Rs 5.96 lakh crore has been transferred to states as devolution of share of taxes by the Central government up to February, which is Rs 67,043 crore higher than the corresponding period of last year 2017-18,” the IE report said.

Opposition Flays ‘Mismanagement’

Meanwhile, the Opposition parties took the Narendra Modi government to task for “mismanagement” of the economy.

Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

“The minister is busy blogging. Modi is busy with Jumlas. More evidence of how the economy has been mismanaged and destroyed in the last 5 years. The time to hold them accountable is now”, he tweeted.

Congress spokeperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also hit out at the ‘failure’ of the Modi government.

“Modi Govt to borrow ₹7.1 Lakh Cr this fiscal. ₹4.42 Lakh Cr just for first half of FY19-20, Fiscal Deficit rises to a whopping 134%! Election Year= Modinomics Flop, Modiji Tiptop! Let ‘Bogus Blog Min’ introspect!” he tweeted.

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