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India’s 2018-19 fiscal deficit at 3.39% of GDP, lower than target

India met its fiscal deficit target for 2018-19, which came in at 3.39 per cent of GDP, slightly lower than 3.4 per cent estimated in the revised estimates of the Budget, on the back of an increase in non-tax revenue and lower expenditure, official data showed on Friday.

As per the data released by Controller General of Accounts (CGA), in absolute terms, the fiscal deficit at the end of March 31, 2019, stood at Rs 6.45 lakh crore as against Rs 6.34 lakh crore in the revised estimates of the Budget.

Although the fiscal deficit in absolute terms has gone up, as a percentage of GDP, the deficit figure has come down marginally, mainly on account of GDP expansion in 2018-19.

According to Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist, India Ratings and Research (Fitch Group): “FY19 fiscal deficit at 3.4 per cent of GDP is in line with government’s revised fiscal deficit target. However, in absolute term the provisional fiscal deficit in FY19 has widened from revised estimate by Rs 109.69 billion.”

“Although the FY19 GDP numbers released today has helped in achieving 3.4 per cent fiscal deficit target, even with the GDP used at the time of budget preparation would have led to fiscal deficit of GDP within 3.4 per cent.”

Besides, the data showed that India’s budgetary fiscal deficit in April 2019-20 period stood at 22.3 per cent or Rs 1.57 lakh crore of the Rs 7.03-lakh crore annual target.

The CGA data showed the fiscal deficit during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal was 24.3 per cent of that year’s target.

In April, the government’s total expenditure stood at Rs 2.54 lakh crore (9.1 per cent of the budget estimates) and total receipts were Rs 94,930 crore (4.8 per cent of the budget estimates).

In the same period of 2018-19, it was 4.1 per cent of budgeted estimates received.

Of the total expenditure in this period, Rs 2.24 lakh crore was on revenue account and Rs 30,588 crore on capital account.


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