Centre must target 4.9% fiscal deficit in 2024 and continue consolidation, SBI Research suggests

SBI Research suggests State must exercise prudence in budgeting in upcoming budget to maintain fiscal consolidation

Updated - July 08, 2024 05:15 pm IST

Published - July 08, 2024 04:56 pm IST - New Delhi

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds up a folder with the Government of India’s logo as she leaves her office to present the federal budget in the parliament, before the nation’s general election, in New Delhi, India, February 1, 2024.

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds up a folder with the Government of India’s logo as she leaves her office to present the federal budget in the parliament, before the nation’s general election, in New Delhi, India, February 1, 2024. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi should focus on adherence to fiscal prudence and continue on the fiscal consolidation path, suggested SBI Research ahead of the much-awaited full Budget for 2024-25 to be tabled on July 23 - the first Budget under Modi 3.0.

What is fiscal deficit?

The difference between total revenue and total expenditure of the government is termed as fiscal deficit. It is an indication of the total borrowings that may be needed by the government.

SBI Research suggested that the Centre should target a fiscal deficit of 4.9%, but it must not obsess too much over the fiscal stance. The Government intends to bring the fiscal deficit below 4.5% of GDP by the financial year 2025-26.

In the Interim Budget earlier this year, the Government has targeted a fiscal deficit of 5.1% of GDP for 2024-25. However, SBI Research believes that the Government may budget a fiscal deficit of less than “5% — may be 4.9% — for 2024-25” due to stellar growth in GST revenues and higher dividends from PSUs and RBI.

State borrowings

As the budgeted fiscal deficit gets lowered, the gross market borrowing of the government will also reduce to around ₹13.5 lakh crore in FY25 compared to ₹14.1 lakh crore in the interim budget and net market borrowing to ₹11.1 lakh crore against ₹11.8 lakh crore earlier, the report, authored and led by Soumya Kanti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, SBI, said. “This along with India’s inclusion in Global Bond indices will keep the yield curve movements anchored,” it added.

In 2023-24, the Government pegged the fiscal deficit target for FY2023-24 at 5.9% of gross domestic product (GDP). Later, it was downwardly revised to 5.8%.

The interim budget, tabled on February 1, took care of the financial needs of the intervening period until a government was formed after the Lok Sabha polls, after which a full budget was supposed to be presented by the new government in July.

FM Sitharaman to break record with sixth budget presentation

With this upcoming Budget Presentation,surpassed the record set by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who as finance minister, presented five annual budgets and one interim budget between 1959 and 1964.

Mrs. Sitharaman's upcoming Budget speech would be her sixth.The government on July 6 announced the dates of the Budget session of Parliament which will start on July 22 and conclude on August 12.

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