Centre’s fiscal deficit touched 64 per cent of revised estimate during April-January period of current fiscal, data from Controller General of Accounts (CGA), released on Thursday showed.

Fiscal deficit is the difference between the expenditure and the income. The government has revised the estimate of fiscal deficit to ₹17.35-lakh crore or 5.8 per cent of the GDP.

Based on the latest trends, experts believe, the deficit for full fiscal would be as projected in revised estimate.

The government’s total receipts stood at ₹22.52-lakh crore (81.7 per cent of corresponding RE 2023-24 of total receipts) as of January 2024, according to the data released by Controller General of Accounts (CGA). This comprised ₹18.8-lakh crore tax revenue (net), ₹3.38-lakh crore of non-tax revenue and ₹34,219 crore of non-debt capital receipts. Non-debt capital receipts consist of the recovery of loans and miscellaneous capital receipts.

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The total expenditure incurred by the Centre was ₹33.54-lakh crore (74.7 per cent of corresponding RE 2023-24), out of which ₹26.33-lakh crore is on revenue account and ₹7.2-lakh crore on capital account. According to the CGA data, over ₹8.20-lakh crore has been transferred to State governments as devolution of share of taxes by the Centre up to this period, which is around ₹1.52-lakh crore higher than the previous year.

Commenting on the latest data, Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist with ICRA said that while net tax revenues rose by 11 per cent, non-tax revenues expanded by 46 per cent on the back of RBI dividend amidst a tepid 1.4 per cent growth in revenue expenditure, and a strong 26.5 per cent year-on-year expansion in capex.

“While there may be some slippage in the disinvestment target and capex may trail the FY24 RE, ICRA does not expect the revised fiscal deficit target of  ₹17.3-lakh crore for FY24 to be breached,” she said.

Nayar further said the headroom left for revenue spending in the last two months of FY24 (₹9.1-lakh crore) is 6 per cent higher than the expenditure of ₹8.6-lakh crore recorded in the year-ago period. The government’s gross tax revenues need to record a moderate 6 per cent growth in the last two months of FY24 to meet the RE for the year, which seems imminently achievable. In particular, the corporate tax collections may exceed the FY24 RE.