In the initial seven months of the current fiscal year 2023-24, India’s fiscal deficit stood at INR 8.04 lakh crore, compared to INR 7.02 lakh crore from April to September. The fiscal deficit for the first seven months represents 45% of the estimated deficit for the entire fiscal year, slightly lower than the 45.6% recorded during the same period in the previous fiscal year. The government has set a target of INR 17.87 lakh crore for the fiscal deficit for the entire financial year.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CGA) released figures on Thursday covering the period from April to October. By October 2023, the government has received INR 15.9 lakh crore in the current fiscal year, constituting 58.6% of the budget estimate for 2023-24. This includes INR 13.01 lakh crore as revenue, INR 2.65 lakh crore as non-tax revenue, and INR 22,990 crore as non-debt capital receipts.
Fiscal deficit represents the gap between the government’s income and expenditure, which is often filled by borrowing from the market. Presenting the annual budget for the fiscal year 2023-24, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman aimed to maintain the fiscal deficit at 5.9% of the GDP, amounting to INR 17.86 lakh crore.
According to the CGA’s data, the central government’s total expenditure from April to October 2023 amounted to INR 23.94 lakh crore, accounting for 53% of the budget estimate for 2023-24. Expenditure included INR 18,47,488 crore under the revenue account and INR 5,46,924 crore under the capital account.
Chief Economist at credit rating agency ICRA Limited, Aditi Nayar, noted a 15% reduction in capital expenditure in October on an annual basis, contributing to controlling the fiscal deficit in the seven-month period. She mentioned that additional spending on the National Food Security Act, higher subsidies on LPG, and non-fertilizer subsidies are expected to increase expenditures by INR 0.8-1 lakh crore beyond the budget estimate for the fiscal year 2023-24.