India's fiscal deficit, gap between the total expenditure and receipts, stood at Rs 8.70 lakh crore for April-August period, which is 109.3 per cent of the budgeted estimate for the current fiscal year, showed the official data released on Wednesday. The deficit was at Rs 7.96 lakh crore or 78.7 per cent of the budgeted estimate (BE) at August-end of the last financial year.
As per the data released by the Ministry of Finance, net tax receipts stood at Rs 2.84 lakh crore, while total expenditure was at Rs 12.5 lakh crore. The data indicated that the government's finances remained under stress due to the coronavirus pandemic-led nationwide lockdown, which impacted tax collections.
"The government of India has received Rs 3,77,306 crore (16.80 per cent of corresponding BE 2020-21 of total receipts) up to August, 2020 comprising Rs 2,84,495 crore tax revenue (Net to Centre), Rs 86,147 crore of non tax revenue and Rs 6,664 crore of non debt capital receipts. Non debt capital receipts consists of recovery of loans (Rs 6,635 crore) and disinvestment proceeds (Rs 29 crore)," the finance ministry said.
The data showed that total expenditure during April-August 2020 was Rs 12.47 lakh crore or 41.03 per cent of BE, out of which Rs 11.13 lakh crore was on revenue account and Rs 1.34 lakh crore was on capital account. Out of the Total Revenue Expenditure, Rs 2.37 lakh crore was on account of interest payments and Rs 1.3 lakh crore is on account of major subsidies.
The central government has pegged fiscal deficit target at 3.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for FY21. However, economists have predicted it to exceed 8 per cent of GDP in wake of sharp economic contraction due to the coronavirus pandemic.
By Chitranjan Kumar