Fiscal deficit at 99 % of annual target

: Reflecting a worrisome financial situation, the government’s fiscal deficit at the end of November touched almost 99 per cent of the target for the entire year.

 The fiscal deficit—difference between the government’s expenditure and revenue—stood at Rs.5.25 lakh crore, just short of the Rs.5.31 lakh crore target for the entire year.

 According to data released by the Controller General of Accounts, the fiscal deficit during April-November was 98.9 per cent of the 2014-15 estimates. The main reason for the high fiscal deficit was subdued revenue realisation.

 Continuing where former finance minister P. Chidambaram left, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech earlier this year, had set a target of restricting the fiscal deficit to 4.1 percent of the GDP.  In line with the Vijay Kelkar committee recommended roadmap for reducing fiscal deficit by 5 per cent annually, the government intends to bring the fiscal deficit down to 3.6 per cent of GDP by 2015-16 and to 3 per cent by 2016-17.

 The Responsibility and Budget Management Act also sets the target of achieving a fiscal deficit of 3 per cent of the GDP by 2016-17.

 According to official data, government’s net tax revenue, as on November-end, stood at Rs.4.13 lakh crore or 42.3 per cent of the Rs.9.77 lakh crore estimated for the entire fiscal.

The government’s plan and non-plan expenditure during the period stood at Rs.2.93 lakh crore and Rs.7.8 lakh crore respectively.

The fiscal deficit in 2013-14 was 4.5 per cent of the GDP, while it stood at 4.9 per cent in 2012-13.

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