Fiscal deficit rises to ₹12.34 lakh crore at end of January
The central government's fiscal deficit soared to ₹12.34 lakh crore or 66.8% of the revised budget estimates at the end of January of the current fiscal.
The fiscal deficit at the end of January in the previous financial year was 128.5% of the Revised Estimates (RE).
In the current fiscal ending March 31, the fiscal deficit is likely to touch ₹18.48 lakh crore or 9.5% of the GDP.
In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit stood at ₹12,34,004 crore at the end of January 2021, as per the data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA).
The lockdown imposed to curb spreading of coronavirus infections had significantly impacted business activities and in turn contributed to sluggish revenue realisation.
The fiscal deficit or gap between the expenditure and revenue had breached the annual target in the month of July during this financial year. The government received ₹12.83 lakh crore -- 80% of the RE 2020-21 -- up to January, 2021. This included ₹11.01 lakh crore of tax revenue.
The tax revenue collection was 82% of the RE of 2020-21 as compared to 66.3% of the RE (2019-20) during the same period last fiscal. Non-tax revenue was 67% of the RE. During the corresponding period of the last fiscal, it was 73%.
According to the CGA data, total expenditure incurred stood at ₹25.17 lakh crore or 73% of the RE in the current financial year. Last fiscal, it was 84.1% of the RE during the same period.
For this financial year, the government had initially pegged the fiscal deficit at ₹7.96 lakh crore or 3.5% of the GDP in the budget presented in February 2020.
However, as per revised estimates in the Budget 2021-22, the fiscal deficit in the year ending March is estimated to soar up to 9.5% of the GDP or ₹18,48,655 crore. This will be due to rise in expenditure on account of the outbreak of Covid-19 and moderation in revenue.
Fiscal deficit had soared to a seven-year high of 4.6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019-20, mainly due to poor revenue realisation.