Apr-Nov fiscal deficit, a tad higher at 115% of 2019-20 target

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 31, 2019 Published on December 31, 2019

The Centre’s fiscal deficit for the April-November 2019 period came in at ₹8.08-lakh crore, which is about 114.8 per cent of the fiscal year 2019-20 target of ₹7.04- lakh crore.

This is about the same level of 114.8 per cent recorded for April-November 2018-19, but much higher than the 102.4 per cent at the end of October this fiscal.

For the first half this fiscal, fiscal deficit was 6.6 per cent of GDP for that period.

The revenue deficit for the April-November 2019 period came in at ₹6.23-lakh crore, which is 128.3 per cent of the Budget estimate for 2019-20, official data released on Tuesday showed.

Commenting on the latest fiscal deficit numbers, Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE Ratings, said there is no need to panic on this count, but much would depend on the disinvestment programme in the January-March 2020 quarter.

“Onus of correction in fiscal deficit will be on what happens to disinvestment. It will be safe to assume that the Centre will go in for expenditure rollover as well as expenditure cuts by March. Overall fiscal deficit slippage will be there (it won’t be 3.3 per cent). We expect the fiscal deficit to be 3.8 to 4 per cent,” he said.

The fiscal deficit picture is somewhat alarming given that the revenue picture is not all that encouraging, but the government had in the past been able to manage expenditure to rein in the fiscal deficit.

Aditi Nayar, Principal economist, ICRA Ltd said: “With the fiscal deficit for the first eight months of 2019-2020 expanding by 12.7 per cent and standing at 114.8 per cent of the budget estimates for the full year, concerns persist on the extent of the fiscal slippage that is likely in the current year. Given the likely shortfall in tax collections and lack of clarity on the eventual magnitude of inflows from telecom license holders and disinvestment proceeds, expenditure cuts may have to be undertaken to prevent the fiscal deficit from rising too sharply in 2019-2020”.

Published on December 31, 2019
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