Fiscal deficit at 9.3% of GDP in 2020-21

People buy onions at a market, during a nationwide lockdown in India to slow the spread of COVID-19, in Dharavi, one of Asia's largest slums, during the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Mumbai, India, April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo

New Delhi: The fiscal deficit stood at 9.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the last fiscal, better than 9.5 per cent projected in the revised estimates in the Union Budget in February.

Economic activities were severely hit in the last financial year due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as subsequent lockdowns and restrictions to curb the spread of infections.

Releasing the revenue-expenditure data of the Union government for 2020-21, the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Monday said the revenue deficit at the end of the last fiscal was 7.42 per cent.

In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit works out to be Rs 18,21,461 crore (provisional).

As per the CGA data for fiscal 2020-21, the tax revenue collection was 105.9 per cent of the Revised Estimates (RE) presented in the budget.

The government received Rs 16,89,720 crore (105.50 per cent of corresponding RE 2020-21 of total receipts) during 2020-21. The amount includes Rs 14,24,035 crore of tax revenue (net to Centre), Rs 2,08,059 crore of non-tax revenue and Rs 57,626 crore of non-debt capital receipts. Non-debt capital receipts consist of recovery of loans and disinvestment proceeds.

A total of Rs 5,94,997 crore was transferred to state governments as devolution of share of taxes by the Union government during 2020-21, which is Rs 55,680 crore lower than the previous year.

Total expenditure incurred by the central government was Rs 35,11,181 crore (101.76 per cent of corresponding RE 2020-21). Out of the total amount, Rs 30,86,360 crore was on revenue account and Rs 4,24,821 crore was on capital account.

Out of the total revenue expenditure, Rs 6,82,079 crore was on account of interest payments and Rs 6,89,545 crore was towards major subsidies.

For 2020-21, the government had initially pegged the fiscal deficit at Rs 7.96 lakh crore or 3.5 per cent of the GDP.

As per revised estimates in the Budget 2021-22, the fiscal deficit for the year ending March 2021 was projected to jump to 9.5 per cent of the GDP or Rs 18,48,655 crore due to rise in expenditure and moderation in revenue amid the pandemic.

For this fiscal (2021-22), the government expects the fiscal deficit to be at 6.8 per cent of the GDP.

Fiscal deficit had soared to a seven-year high of 4.6 per cent of the GDP in 2019-20, mainly due to poor revenue realisation. As per another set of data released by the CGA on Monday, the fiscal deficit for the first month of the current fiscal was 5.2 of the budget estimates. During April 2020, it was 35.1 per cent amidst the nationwide lockdown announced by the government to check the spread of coronavirus infections, according to the CGA.

In absolute terms, the April 2021 fiscal deficit was Rs 78,699 crore.

As per the Union Budget presented in Parliament in February 2021, the fiscal deficit in the year ending March 2022 was estimated at Rs 15,06,812 crore or 6.8 per cent of the GDP.

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