The government is likely to set fiscal deficit target in the range of 3.3-3.4 per cent of the GDP for the financial year 2017-18 in the upcoming Budget which will be presented on February 1, say research reports.
“We think that the government will have to tread very carefully between the need for stimulating demand in a weak economic environment after demonetisation and continuing on the path of fiscal consolidation. We expect the government to Budget for a fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent of GDP, 30 basis points higher than planned in the government’s medium-term fiscal consolidation program,” Goldman Sachs said in its research report.
It said the lower reduction in fiscal deficit is to stimulate demand in a weak economic environment post demonetisation announced in early November.
An SBI internal research report, Ecowrap, has pegged in a “fiscal deficit target of ₹5.75 lakh crore for the financial year 2017-18, at 3.4 per cent of the GDP.”
Fiscal deficit for the financial year 2016-17 is budgeted at 3.5 per cent.
The Goldman Sachs report said the government is likely to meet its Budget deficit target of 3.5 per cent of the GDP for the financial year 2016-17 due to better-than-expected tax revenue growth and via some adjustment to capital spending.
Higher revenues from duties on oil (0.3 percentage point higher than budgeted) should help the government achieve its target for the current financial year, it said.
Additional income tax revenues from the amnesty on undisclosed income, ending in September 2017, are also likely to boost government tax revenue (0.1 percentage point of the GDP), it said.
“We think that higher-than-expected tax revenues would offset any shortfall on the non-tax side, including telecom spectrum receipts and privatization proceeds,” the Goldman Sachs report said.
It expects government capital spending to be slightly lower in the current financial year compared to what was budgeted — 1.5 per cent of GDP as against 1.6 per cent budgeted.
Goldman Sachs expects tax revenue to grow by over 16 per cent in the financial year 2017-18 and support government finances.
The SBI research report expects a 13 per cent growth in tax revenues (gross) in the financial year 2017-18, driven primarily by robust growth in corporation tax (28.8 per cent).
Lower divestment target
Capital receipts, on the other hand may rise marginally due to low disinvestment target compared to the current fiscal’s over-optimistic target of ₹56,500 crore, Ecowrap said.
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