Showing continued signs of financial stress, the government’s fiscal deficit touched 76 per cent of the budget estimate (BE) in the first six months of 2013-14 while the revenue deficit clocked an even higher 84.8 per cent of the full fisc target in the period.
Data released by the Controller General of Accounts on Thursday revealed that the fiscal deficit, or the difference between government receipts and spending, swelled to Rs 4,12,088 crore between April and September 2013, which is 76 per cent of the BE of Rs 5,42,499 crore. This is just marginally higher than the 74.6 per cent by August end 2013.
Similarly, the revenue deficit in the first half of the financial year went up to Rs 3,22,277 crore, or 84.8 per cent of the BE, compared with 75.1 per cent last year.
The fiscal deficit is without accounting for a substantial portion of oil subsidies, which is likely to exceed budget estimates as oil import bill will be much higher due to depreciation in rupee against the dollar.
Meanwhile, growth in revenue tax revenue has been below expectations while government spending has been marginally higher compared to last fiscal.
This has raised concerns amongst private forecasters that the fiscal deficit target could be a challenge to meet but finance minister P Chidambaram has, time and again, stressed that the government would contain the deficit at 4.8 per cent of the GDP in 2013-14.
Tax receipts for the first six months of the fiscal touched Rs 3,07,589 crore, amounting to nearly 35 per cent of the full year target of Rs 8,84,078 crore. This is significantly lower than the 38.1 per cent of the BE last fiscal.