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Last updated: 03 Jan, 2023  

Rupee.9.Thmb.jpg Fiscal deficit

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Bikky Khosla | 03 Jan, 2023

Fiscal deficit for the April-November period reached Rs 9.78 lakh crore, or 58.9 percent of the Budget target of Rs 16.61 lakh crore for the current fiscal. While presenting the Union Budget last year, the Finance Minister had set a fiscal deficit target of 6.4 percent of GDP, which is already high, according to some experts, who add that the Centre should take some concrete measures in the upcoming Budget to chart out a clear consolidation path.

The latest round of data shows the Revenue deficit standing at Rs 5.73 lakh crore, which is 57.8 percent of the target of Rs 9.91 lakh crore. Total expenditure stood at Rs 24.43 lakh crore while net tax receipts at Rs 12.25 lakh crore. More importantly, with subsidy for food, fuel and fertiliser standing at Rs 3.01 lakh crore, it is quite clear that the Centre had already nearly completed the total target amount of Rs 3.18 lakh crore for the whole fiscal.

It was recently announced that the government will discontinue the free food scheme introduced during the difficult pandemic times, and no doubt it will help reduce the food subsidy bill, but experts point out that much efforts are needed in checking fiscal deficit, which is continuously widening and highest among the G20 nations. The government is fighting against high inflation for quite some time now, but it needs to strain every nerve to check fiscal deficit as well.

Meanwhile, at $36.4 billion, India’s current account deficit rose to about 4.4 percent of GDP in the quarter ending September 2022. Widening merchandise trade deficit contributed to this sharp rise. This is a concern as it may diminish the country’s appeal as a global investment destination. Also, global demand slowdown has already started impacting our exports and in this scenario, the sector expects all-round support measures in the upcoming Budget.

I invite your opinions.

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