Nirmala Sitaraman. Photo: PTI
New Delhi: The government's fiscal deficit in end-October touched 45.6 per cent of the full year Budget Estimate, according to the data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Wednesday.
In actual terms, the fiscal deficit -- the difference between expenditure and revenue -- was Rs 7,58,137 crore during the April-October period of 2022-23.
In the corresponding period last year, the deficit was 36.3 per cent of the Budget Estimates of 2021-22.
For 2022-23, the fiscal deficit of the government is estimated to be Rs 16.61 lakh crore or 6.4 per cent of the GDP.
As per the CGA data, the net tax revenue at Rs 11.71 lakh crore was 60.5 per cent of BE 2022-23. During the corresponding period of 2021-22, the tax revenue (net) was 68.1 per cent of that year's BE.
Central government's total expenditure during April-October works out to be Rs 54.3 per cent of BE 2022-23, higher than 52.4 per cent of BE in the year-ago period.
Commenting on the data, Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist, ICRA said in April-October 2022-23, while the Government of India's net tax revenues reported a healthy growth of 11 per cent, the 14 per cent contraction in non-tax revenues, combined with the 10 per cent rise in revenue expenditure, and the robust 62 per cent expansion in capex, widened the fiscal deficit to Rs 7.6 lakh crore from Rs 5.5 lakh crore in the first seven months of 2021-22.
"Taking into account the estimated additional expenditure that is likely in FY2023, we estimate the extent of the overshoot in the fiscal deficit at a modest (about) Rs 1 lakh crore, given the considerable upside seen in non-excise tax revenues as well as savings expected under other expenditure heads," she said.
Going by the buoyancy in the revenue collections in the first seven months, Shailendra Kumar, Chairman of the TIOL Knowledge Foundation, said that the Union Government has done much better than expected in bridging the fiscal deficit for the current fiscal.
"At the present pace, my expectation is that the Union Finance Minister would be tapping her feet by lowering the projected deficit of 6.4 per cent by a good measure," he said.
As per the CGA data, the central government's total receipts, including non-tax revenue, stood at Rs 13.85 lakh crore or 60.7 per cent of the current year's BE. In the year-ago period, the total receipts had touched 64.7 per cent of BE 2021-22.
Vivek Jalan, Partner, Tax Connect Advisory, on both GST and Income Tax, the revenues are expected to be much more robust and an uptick of Rs 4 lakh crore is expected on the tax front.
"This means that the Government would get an opportunity to spend Rs 2 lakh crore more during the coming four months of this fiscal for the benefit of the citizens and to spur up the growth when the global outlook looks gloomy," he said.
The CGA said the fiscal deficit figure shown in monthly accounts is not necessarily an indicator of fiscal deficit for the year as it gets impacted by the temporal mismatch between the flow of non-debt receipts and expenditure up to that month. A fiscal deficit is an indicator of the government's market borrowing.