The government's fiscal deficit, or gap between expenditure and revenue receipts, touched 97.4 per cent of the budget estimates in the April-February period of the current financial year.
The fiscal deficit in the corresponding period last year was 94.6 per cent of the budget estimates.
In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit stood at over Rs 5.07 lakh crore at the end of February, according to the data released by Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Thursday.
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The government has estimated the fiscal deficit for current fiscal at Rs 5,13,590 crore, or 5.1 per cent, of GDP in Budget 2012-13. However, in the revised estimate, it pegged the deficit to be at 5.2 per cent for the financial year ending March 31.
Fiscal deficit rose from the budgeted levels due to the rising subsidy outgo.
Expenditure during the April-February period of current financial year was 85.2 per cent of budget estimates, against 83.9 per cent in same period last fiscal.
Total expenditure during the April-February period stood at over Rs 12.19 lakh crore. Total receipts stood at over Rs 7.12 lakh crore, or 78.3 per cent of the budget estimates.
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Tax revenue during the period was over Rs 5.71 lakh crore, 77.1 per cent of budget estimates, compared to 76.9 per cent achieved in the same period last year.
The government bridges its fiscal deficit through market borrowings.
To contain it at 5.2 per cent, the government has taken a number of steps like rationalisation of expenditure including 10 per cent mandatory cut on non-plan expenditure. Besides, steps have been taken to cut the subsidy outgo on petroleum products.
The government has rolled out fiscal deficit road-map for the 12th Five Year Plan. It estimates fiscal deficit to come down to 4.8 per cent in 2013-14 and to 3 per cent of the GDP by 2016-17.
With inputs from PTI