Early passage of the budget for 2017-18 has contributed to an upfronting of expenditure, resulting in a sharp 51.2 per cent rise in revenue expenditure in April, rating agency Icra said. Revenue expenditure was Rs 2.1 lakh crore in April against Rs 1.4 lakh crore in the same month last year, Icra said. The government had advanced the budget to February 1, instead of the early practice of presenting it at the end of February, in order to ensure that it was passed by Parliament prior to beginning of the new fiscal. The objective was to empower the various ministries and states to start spending from early April itself.
The rating agency, in its note on government’s finances, said the provisional data for April 2017 confirms an upfronting of expenditure, with a sharp 51.2 per cent rise in revenue expenditure to Rs 2.1 lakh crore from Rs 1.4 lakh crore in the year ago month. This was led by the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Pensions, and the Department of Food and Public Distribution, it said.
Similarly, capital expenditure posted a considerable growth of 37.7 per cent. The government’s revenue receipts also posted a substantial growth. “As a result of the upfronting of expenditure, the government’s revenue deficit for April 2017 stood at a substantial 55.4 per cent of the BE for 2017-18, higher than the same in April 2016,” Icra said. Moreover, the fiscal deficit for April 2017 stood at 37.6 per cent of 2017-18 BE, relative to 25.7 per cent of 2016-17 in April 2016, it added.