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Fiscal deficit widens in January; stands at 121.5% of full-year target

With lower revenue collections, the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) in its latest data showed that the central government's fiscal deficit has widened and touched 121.5% of the full-year revised target of Rs 6.34 lakh crore at the end of January. The fiscal deficit, or the gap between the government's expenditure and revenue, stood at Rs 7.70 lakh crore during April-January of the current financial year ending March. At the end of January 2018, the deficit was 113.7% of the Revised Estimate (RE).

As per the CGA data, the revenue receipts of the government totalled Rs 11.81 lakh crore or 68.3% of RE till January in 2018-19, compared with 72.8% during the same period last fiscal. The government expects to mop up revenue of Rs 17.29 lakh crore during the current fiscal, from Rs 17.25 lakh crore budgeted originally. Tax revenue was 68.7% of RE, compared with 76.5% in the comparable period of the previous year.  On the expenditure front, the data showed that the total expenditure of the government at January-end was Rs 20.01 lakh crore or 81.5% of RE. The total expenditure for the current fiscal has been raised to Rs 24.57 lakh crore in the RE, from the budgeted Rs 24.42 lakh crore.

The government had budgeted to cut the fiscal deficit to 3.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Rs 6.24 lakh crore in 2018-19, from 3.53% in the previous financial year. However, the fiscal deficit was revised upwards marginally to 3.4% of GDP or over Rs 6.34 lakh crore in the Interim Budget 2019-20, on account of additional outlay of Rs 20,000 crore for funding income scheme for small farmers.

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