The fiscal deficit touched 128.5 per cent of the whole-year budget target at January-end, the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) said on Friday. The deficit during the same period in 2018-19 was 121.5 per cent of that year’s revised budget estimate (RE).
In actual terms, the fiscal deficit, or the gap between the expenditure and revenue, stood at Rs 9,85,472 crore. The government had targeted to restrict the fiscal deficit at Rs 7,66,846 crore during the year ending March 31, 2020.
However, economists expect the deficit to exceed the revised target of 3.8 per cent of the GDP. The fiscal deficit is the shortfall in a government’s income compared with its spending. It means that the government is spending beyond its means.
While presenting the Union budget earlier this month, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had raised the fiscal deficit target to 3.8 per cent of GDP from 3.3 per cent for 2019-20 because of revenue shortage.
“The receipts tend to sharply exceed expenditures in the last few months of each fiscal, which aids in reining in the full-year fiscal deficit. While we estimate the government’s gross tax receipts to be considerably lower than the 2019-20 revised estimates, lower tax devolution to the states would bolster the central government’s net tax revenues,” Aditi Nayar, principal economist at Icra, said.
According to CGA data on monthly accounts, revenue receipts during April-January were at Rs 12.5 lakh crore, or 67.6 per cent, of the RE for 2019-20. This compares with 68.3 per cent of the RE in the previous fiscal.
Total receipts were at 66.4 per cent of RE against 67.5 per cent in the year-ago period. Total expenditure at January-end was Rs 22.68 lakh crore, or 84.1 per cent of RE, higher than 81.5 per cent in the corresponding period of the last fiscal.