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Govt close to meeting fiscal deficit target of 3.4% for 2018-19: Finance Secretary

Expressing optimism over fiscal position of the country, Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg has said the government is close to meeting fiscal deficit target of 3.4% for 2018-19. The government in the interim Budget in February revised upward the fiscal deficit target to 3.4% from 3.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimated earlier for the financial year ended March 31. He said 'some numbers are still to come. So, we will wait for a couple of days. There will always be some shortfall but sum and substance of that is what is the net impact on the deficit.'

Besides, direct tax collection was revised upward to Rs 12 lakh crore. The government had originally budgeted to collect Rs 11.50 lakh crore in 2018-19 from direct taxes, which included corporate tax and personal income tax. Likewise, in 2018-19, GST collection is pegged at Rs 6.43 lakh crore (Revised Estimate), which is lower than the targeted Rs 7.43 lakh crore (Budget Estimate). On the indirect tax front, customs collection in 2018-19 is pegged at Rs 1.30 lakh crore (RE).

Garg also said the financial sector in India has to be cognizant of the changes that are happening in the different elements of the economy. He outlined three main areas that need investment, these areas being infrastructure, digital economy and circular economy. He further said that the infrastructure sector in particular needs more investment and they need the top global government pools of sovereign and pension funds to invest in India. Digital infrastructure required non-traditional sources of finance such as private equity and venture capital funds.

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