Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that government was confident of a growth rate higher than what had been projected earlier this year in the budget, and would strictly maintain the 3.3 per cent fiscal deficit target. Speaking to reporters after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed various departments of the finance ministry, he said that the PM was satisfied with the economic data. The government was confident of surpassing the 7.2-7.5 per cent GDP growth rate projected in the Budget for 2018-19, he said. “We will stick to fiscal deficit target,” he was quoted as saying by PTI. The Finance Minister also said that capital expenditure targets would also be met.
On the second day of the economic review meeting chaired by PM Modi, which comes on the back of a sharp depreciation in the rupee and the spike in crude oil prices, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) gave a detailed presentation. India’s current account deficit jumped to 2.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2018-19, from 1.9 per cent in March 2018.
“As far as capital expenditure is concerned, already we have spent about 44 per cent of the budgeted expenditure till August 31 and we will end the year without any cuts and will maintain the 100 per cent capital expenditure,” he said.
On revenue collections, he said the impact of anti-black money measures, demonetisation and GST were now visible with “phenomenal” increase in tax base. “The CBDT is very clear that this year they will be able to collect in excess of budgeted target,” he said. The government had in the budget projected direct tax collection of Rs 11.5 lakh crore for 2018-19 fiscal.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was also settling down, he said while exuding the confidence of surpassing the Rs 1 lakh crore target from disinvestment proceeds. “We are confident that between direct and indirect tax collections, the government will comfortably meet the target if not surpass it,” he said. The BJP leader also said the inflation was broadly under control.
However, the FM did not say if today’s meeting discussed the recent spike in fuel prices. The fuel hike has led petrol touching a record high of Rs 81.63 per litre and diesel to Rs 73.54 a litre.
To contain the widening current account deficit (CAD) and check the fall of the rupee, the government on Friday announced specific steps to attract dollars and said that more measures are being planned to smoothen volatility in the financial markets. The development came after the meeting last evening where Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the economic situation with top Finance Ministry and Reserve Bank of India officials.