Fiscal deficit highest in two decades for Apr-Sept period

Rise in capital expenditure as well as revenue expenditure main reasons.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published:November 1, 2016 1:54 am

The government’s fiscal deficit in April-September widened to 83.9 per cent of its total Budget estimate of Rs 5.34 lakh crore for 2016-17 as against 68.1 per cent of the Budget target last year. In absolute terms, fiscal deficit in first half of the current financial year was Rs 4.48 lakh crore, the highest level recorded for April-September in last two decades, data released by Controller General of Accounts showed.

The increased gap between government’s expenditure and revenues has been primarily due to rise in capital expenditure as well as revenue expenditure, especially on account of higher salaries. Revenue deficit of the government during April-September inched higher to Rs 3.26 lakh crore or 92.1 per cent of total budget aim of Rs 3.54 lakh crore. The revenue deficit had increased sharply in April-August to 91.8 per cent of total budget aim for this financial year after the hike in salaries of government employees due to implementation of recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.

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Capital expenditure also increased in April-September, registering a rise of 5.3 per cent to Rs 1.35 lakh crore as against Rs 1.28 lakh crore during the same period last year. In September, capital expenditure rose by 20.3 per cent to Rs 43,593 crore.

Total expenditure in April-September stood at Rs 10.2 lakh crore or 52 per cent of budget estimate compared with 51.2 per in the same period last year. Total receipts for April-September were Rs 5.8 lakh crore, amounting to only 40.1 per cent of the total of budgeted aim got this financial year. During the first half of previous financial year, the government had achieved 43 per cent of its total budget estimate for revenue receipts.

Tax receipts during April-September stood at Rs 4.48 lakh crore, accounting for 42.5 per cent of the Budget estimates, higher than 40.2 per cent recorded in the same period last financial year. Non-tax revenue receipts stood at Rs 1.18 lakh crore or 36.8 per cent of budget estimate in the first half of 2016-17, sharply lower than 64.8 per cent registered in the corresponding period last year. Non-debt capital receipts were registered at Rs 12,815 crore, including Rs 6,015 crore from disinvestment, accounting for 19.1 per cent of budget estimate for this year. The percentage of non-debt capital receipts of total budget estimate was higher at 25 per cent during the same period last year.

The fiscal deficit for 2016-17 has been pegged at 3.5 per cent of the GDP. An amount of around Rs 15,000 crore raised from penalty through the black money compliance window will flow into government coffers by March 2017. Also, the government is expected to earn from spectrum auctions and strategic sale in public sector companies for which cabinet gave its approval last week. The government has pegged disinvestment target for the current financial year at Rs 56,500 crore.