India’s total public debt rose to Rs 63.35 lakh crore till June-end, up 3.6 per cent over the previous quarter, according to government data released today. The total public debt (excluding liabilities under the public account) of the government was Rs 61.13 lakh crore as of March-end. “This represented a quarter-on-quarter increase of 3.6 per cent in Q1 FY18 as compared to a decrease of 1.15 per cent in the previous quarter (Q4 of FY’17),” said the Public Debt Management report released by the finance ministry.
The report gives an account of the public debt management and cash management operations during the quarter and attempts a rationale for major activities. It also tries to provide information on various aspects of debt management. Internal debt constituted 93 per cent of public debt as of June 2017 while marketable securities accounted for 83.2 per cent.
The report also said that liquidity conditions in the economy remained comfortable and continue to be in surplus mode during the quarter post the demonetisation. It further said the cash position of the government during Q1 of FY’17 was somewhat stressed and it took recourse to Ways and Means Advances (WMA) from the RBI to tide over this temporary phase.
This was due to front-loading of expenditure by the ministries and heavy repayment of G-secs falling during the quarter, combined with low cash inflows generally seen during the first half of the year. “Overdraft was also availed briefly during the quarter,” it said.
Cash Management Bills (CMBs) of varying durations amounting to Rs 1.3 lakh crore were issued during the quarter to augment the cash position of the government with CMBs of Rs 40,000 crore redeemed during the quarter itself.
The government’s cash account is maintained with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The cash-flow mismatches of the government are largely managed through issuance of treasury bills, access to the WMA facility from the RBI and issuance of CMBs when in deficit and through auctions of its cash balance in market (through RBI) and buybacks of securities from market, when in surplus.
The limits for WMA for the first quarter of the Financial Year 2017-18 (April 2017-June 2017) was fixed at Rs 60,000 crore.