India’s April-September Fiscal Deficit Hits 37.3% Of Full FY23 Target

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The central government’s fiscal deficit during April-September 2022 touched 37.3 per cent of the full-year target, according to the latest official data. In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit was Rs 6,19,849 crore during the period.

The fiscal deficit, the difference between expenditure and revenue, was 35 per cent of budget estimates (BE) in the corresponding period last fiscal. According to the data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Monday, the government’s total receipts, including taxes, stood at Rs 12.03 lakh crore or 52.7 per cent of BE for 2022-23.

During the year-ago period, the collection was 55.6 per cent of BE 2021-22. The tax revenue stood at about Rs 10.11 lakh crore or 52.3 per cent of this year’s BE. The central government’s total expenditure was Rs 18.23 lakh crore or 46.2 per cent of the BE 2022-23. It was 46.7 per cent of BE 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.

According to the data, capital expenditure was 45.7 per cent of the full-year budget target in the current fiscal, compared to 41.4 per cent in the corresponding period last year, as per the monthly account of the union government up to September.

Out of the total revenue expenditure, Rs 4.36 lakh crore was on account of interest payments and Rs 1.98 lakh crore on account of major subsidies.

Aditi Nayar, chief economist at ICRA, said, “Even as the Government of India’s revenue deficit eased marginally, a healthy 50 per cent YoY expansion in its capital spending drove a widening of the fiscal deficit to Rs 6.2 lakh crore in April-September FY2023 from Rs 5.3 lakh crore in the first six months of FY2022.”

In the first half of 2022-23, the government’s net tax revenues reported a growth of 10 per cent, offsetting the 2 per cent contraction in non-tax revenues, and the 6 per cent rise in revenue expenditure, and leading to a mild YoY compression in its revenue deficit.

“The healthy 15 per cent YoY growth in the gross tax revenues in September 2022 was led by corporation tax and CGST, which accounted for nearly three-fourths of the rise in the incremental gross tax receipts in that month, relative to September 2021,” Nayar said.

She also said while spending would sharply exceed the budgeted level, driven by fertiliser and food subsidy, and excise revenues will be dampened by the cess reduction on petrol and diesel undertaken in May 2022, ICRA expects the extent of the overshoot in the fiscal deficit to be modest at Rs 1 lakh crore, given the considerable upside seen in non-excise tax revenues as well as savings expected under other expenditure heads.

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