Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday expressed confidence over comfortable revenue collection in 2018-19.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday expressed confidence over comfortable revenue collection in 2018-19, seeking to remove doubts about any likely slippage in fiscal deficit from the revised target of 3.3% of GDP ahead of the general elections in 2019.
Asked about the possibility of high oil prices worsening fiscal deficit, Jaitley said an assessment should not be made on a hypothetical situation, as oil prices have fallen in the past three days. The government is targeting a 14.6% rise in revenue next fiscal. Analysts have said while this seems possible given the budgeted nominal GDP growth of 11.5%, the 10.1% increase in expenditure ahead of the elections runs the risk of exceeding the target yet again.
In the current fiscal, against the 9.5% rise in the Centre’s revenue receipts, expenditure jumped 12.3%. Addressing reporters after meeting the RBI’s board, Jaitley said the Budget proposal of fixing the minimum support prices of kharif crops at 1.5 times the cost of production was also discussed. “How to implement this and what impact it can have on farmers, commodity prices and export competitiveness—all these issues were discussed. It was an academic discussion,” he said. The Monetary Policy Committee’s latest move to keep interest rates unchanged was a “balanced decision”, the finance minister said.