The fiscal deficit of India reached 58.9% of the overall target for the current financial year by the end of January, shows data from the Controller General of Accounts released Monday. A month ago in December, the country’s fiscal deficit had reached 50.4% of the overall target.

In January alone, the fiscal deficit stood at ₹1.79 lakh crore, as opposed to ₹75,535 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year. The substantial rise in the fiscal deficit last month came on the back of a 32% year-on-year decline in total receipts (₹1.10 lakh crore) and 21.5% increase in total expenditure (₹2.88 lakh crore).

This took the overall fiscal deficit to ₹9.38 lakh crore during the April-January period of this fiscal, as compared to ₹12.34 lakh crore in the same period of the previous fiscal. The overall fiscal deficit target for the financial year 2021-22 has been pegged at ₹15.91 lakh crore.

Total receipts during April-January period of the current fiscal stood at ₹18.71 lakh crore, against the target of ₹21.79 lakh crore for the entire fiscal. This is 85.9% of the Centre’s target, marking a yearly growth of 45.83%.

The total receipts include net tax revenue of ₹15.47 lakh crore, which is 87.7% of the total target of ₹17.65 lakh crore. This is 40.43% higher than the next tax receipts seen in the corresponding period last year. Non-tax revenue for the first ten months of FY23 was pegged at ₹2.91 lakh crore, against the overall target of ₹3.14 lakh crore. By January 2022, the non-tax revenue touched 92.9% of the budgetary target, after it more than doubled from ₹1.41 lakh crore a year-ago.

Non-debt capital receipts stood at ₹32,595 crore, merely 32.6% of the budgetary target, due to dismal disinvestment proceeds. Offloading equity holdings earned the Centre only ₹12,037 crore, merely 15% of the budgeted disinvestment target of ₹78,000 crore for FY22.

The government has completed the sale of Air India in this fiscal, and is on its way to float an initial public offering for Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). However, it is highly unlikely to meet the disinvestment target set by the Centre for this fiscal as stake sale of crucial PSUs, like Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) are stuck due to various reasons.

Loan recovery improved in the first ten months of FY22 to ₹20,527 crore, adding to the non-debt capital receipts. This was almost 30% higher than the amount registered under this head in the year-ago period, and 93.4% of the budgetary target of ₹21,975 crore.

India’s total expenditure grew to ₹28.09 lakh crore during April-January period of FY23, sitting at 74.5% of the budgetary target of ₹37.70 lakh crore for the entire fiscal. This is 11.6% higher than the total expenditure in the year-ago period.

Revenue expenditure was ₹23.68 lakh crore, amounting to 74.7% of the budgetary target. Capital expenditure reached ₹4.42 lakh crore during the period under review, almost 22% higher than ₹3.62 lakh crore seen in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The Union Budget 2022 has mentioned that the fiscal deficit will cross Centre’s target of 6.8% of gross domestic product by 10 basis points to reach 6.9% in FY22. This is, however, still well below the fiscal deficit of 9.2% seen during FY21, as government expenses surged in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent decline in revenues from impact on economic activities.

Today, the National Statistical Office (NSO) released the second advance estimates for GDP estimates FY22 and quarterly estimates for the December quarter. The data shows that the Indian economy grew 5.4% year-on-year to ₹38.22 lakh crore during the third quarter. For the financial year 2021-22, real GDP growth estimate was revised downwards to 8.9% compared with the earlier forecast of 9.2%.

The Economic Survey tabled in the parliament at the end of last month had estimated the GDP to grow at 8-8.5%.

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