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Fiscal deficit accelerates to Rs 7.15 lakh crore at Feb-end, touches 120% of revised target

Surpassing the revised full-year target of the fiscal year 2017-18, India's fiscal deficit, the difference between government expenditure and revenue, has accelerated to Rs 7.15 lakh crore for the period April-February 2017-18. The deficit was 120% of its revised target, mainly due to increased expenditure and subdued revenue receipts.  The revised fiscal deficit is Rs 5.94 lakh crore as against Rs 5.47 lakh crore target earlier. In the same period last year, the fiscal deficit stood at Rs 5.94 lakh crore or 113% of the budgetary estimate.

According to the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) data, during the 11 months period ending on February, the government has collected Rs 12.83 lakh crore revenue or 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 non-tax revenue and non-debt capital receipts, respectively. Non-debt capital receipts consist of recovery of loans of Rs 13,301 crore. Besides, Rs 92,493 crore has been mopped up through PSU disinvestment till February-end. In the revised estimates of 2017-18, the government had raised the disinvestment target to Rs 1 lakh crore, up from Rs 72,500 crore in the Budget estimates.

Till February, over Rs 5.29 lakh crore has been transferred to state governments as devolution of share of taxes by the Centre, which is Rs 66,039 crore higher than the corresponding period of last year 2016-17. Total expenditure incurred by the government during the period was over Rs 19.99 lakh crore or 90.14% of revised estimates for 2017-18. Of this, Rs 17.02 lakh crore is on revenue account and Rs 2.97 lakh crore is on capital account. Of the total revenue expenditure, Rs 4.50 lakh crore is on account of interest payments and Rs 2.27 lakh crore is on account of major subsidies.

Besides, in the Budget for 2018-19, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had revised upwards the fiscal deficit target to 3.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2017-18, as against the initial target of 3.2%. The changes were made on account of financial hiccups due to GST implementation and delay in spectrum auction. For the financial year 2018-19, the fiscal deficit or gap between total expenditure and revenues has been pegged at 3.3%.

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