India's fiscal deficit touched Rs 4.57 lakh crore or 84.4 per cent of budget estimates in the first seven months of the current fiscal, reflecting signs of stress in government finances.
Fiscal deficit, the difference between government receipts and spending, was 71.6 per cent of the budget estimate in April-October of 2012-13.
It stood at 76 per cent in April-September this year and climbed further to 84.4 per cent of the budget estimate (or Rs 4.57 lakh crore) April-October, as per government data released today.
The deficit is without accounting for subsidies that the government will have to pay for selling diesel and cooking fuels at prices below cost.
As much as Rs 45,000 crore of fuel subsidy to be paid this fiscal will be carried to the next year as all of the budgetary provisions have already been exhausted in the first six months.
As per the official data, net tax receipts for the first seven months of the fiscal year touched Rs 3.56 lakh crore, while total expenditure was Rs 9.22 lakh crore.
The revenue deficit during seven months period went up to Rs 3.53 lakh crore, or 92.9 per cent of the budget estimate, compared with 81.4 per cent last year.
Tax revenue collection slowed down to 40.3 per cent of the budget estimate (Rs 8.84 lakh crore) as against 43.3 per cent in the previous fiscal.
The non-tax revenues was just Rs 99,515 crore in the April-October period, as against the budgeted over Rs 1.72 lakh crore for entire 2013-14.
With nearly eight month of the fiscal getting over, the government has been able to raise a little over Rs 1,300 crore from disinvestment, against the budgeted target of Rs 40,000 crore.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram at many occasions had reiterated that red line has been drawn for the fiscal deficit and it will not be breached.
The government plans to restrict fiscal deficit at 4.8 per cent of GDP in the current fiscal, lower than 4.9 per cent in 2012-13.
With the aim of sticking to fiscal deficit target, the government had announced a slew of austerity measures in September, including reduction in non-plan expenditure, ban on holding seminars in five-star hotels and creation of new jobs.
While announcing the steps, the government did not quantify the savings it would make by the expenditure rationalisation that was announced on September 18.