Fiscal deficit may shoot to 6.2%: Fitch

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on April 01, 2020 Published on April 01, 2020

India’s fiscal deficit in 2020-21 may shoot up to 6.2 per cent of the GDP from 3.5 per cent government estimate as a fallout of the Covid-19 economic stimulus package, Fitch Solutions said on Wednesday.

With businesses disrupted due to the lockdown and its ripple effects, revenue will come under “heavy pressure” and may force the government to look towards additional borrowing and/or a higher central bank dividend to fund its expenditure, it said.

“At Fitch Solutions, we are revising our forecast for India’s FY2020/21 (April-March) central government fiscal deficit to widen to 6.2 per cent of GDP, from 3.8 per cent of GDP previously (estimated by Fitch Solutions), which reflects our view that the government will miss its initial target of 3.5 per cent by a wider margin,” the agency said. Underpinning the revised forecast are weaker revenue collection as a result of a sharp virus-driven downturn in economic activity and higher expenditures aimed at softening Covid-19’s economic shock.

Stating that weak economic activity will likely see revenue collection contract in 2020-21, Fitch Solutions said receipts may contract by 1 per cent from a growth of 11.8 per cent previously.

“We have revised our FY2020/21 real GDP growth forecast to 4.6 per cent, from 5.4 per cent previously, to reflect our view for growth to weaken further from our estimate of 4.9 per cent in FY2019/20 due to both economic disruptions due to domestic movement restrictions and weak global demand,” it said.

Lockdown impact

The government declared a 21-day nationwide lockdown beginning March 25. “The rushed implementation of the lockdown which gave its citizens only a few hours to prepare has reportedly caused many rural migrants in the cities to be left without food and shelter, prompting them to return to their villages, either on the last remaining carriers or on foot.”

“As such, we see virus-led economic disruptions extending for several quarters, which will weigh heavily on personal and corporate income tax collections for the year,” it said.

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Published on April 01, 2020
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