Fiscal Deficit Touches 135 % of Budget Estimate at Feb-End: CGA

The fiscal deficit or the gap between expenditure and revenue was Rs 10,36,485 crore.

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The government's fiscal deficit touched 135.2 percent of the full-year target at February-end mainly due to slower pace of revenue collections, according to an official data released on Tuesday, 31 March.

In actual terms, the fiscal deficit or the gap between expenditure and revenue was Rs 10,36,485 crore, the data by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) showed.

During February, there was hardly any impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on the economy. However, it would be very much visible when CGA releases the numbers for the entire fiscal.

The government aims to restrict the fiscal deficit at 3.8 percent of the GDP or Rs 7.1 lakh crore in 2019-20. The deficit was 134.2 percent of 2018-19 Budget Estimate (BE) in the corresponding period.

According to CGA, the government's revenue receipts were Rs 13.77 lakh crore or 74.5 percent of the 2019-20 revised estimate (RE). In the same period last fiscal, the collections were 73.2 percent of the RE.

The data also showed that total expenditure was 91.4 percent of RE or Rs 24.65 lakh crore. During the corresponding period in 2018-19, the expenditure was 89.1 percent of the RE.

Of the total spending, the capital expenditure was 87.5 percent of the RE, higher than 86.6 percent of the estimates during the same period in 2018-19.

While presenting the Union Budget last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had raised fiscal deficit target to 3.8 percent of the GDP from 3.3 percent pegged earlier for 2019-20 due to revenue shortage.

The government had earlier estimated the fiscal deficit to be at 3.3 percent of the GDP for 2019-20 but due to revenue shortage, the Centre had to increase it by invoking the "escape clause" in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act.

The ''escape clause'' allows the government to breach its fiscal deficit target by 0.5 percentage points at times of severe stress in the economy, including periods of structural change and those when growth falls sharply.

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