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CAG pegs India's FY18 fiscal deficit at 5.85% vs govt's 3.46%: Report

The revenue deficit for FY18 stands at 3.48 percent of GDP and not 2.59 percent as stated officially, the CAG report stated

July 25, 2019 / 10:58 AM IST
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The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pegged India's FY18 fiscal deficit considerably higher than the number reported by the government. It has pegged the fiscal deficit at 5.85 percent, wider than the government’s figure of 3.46 percent, according to a report in The Economic Times.

On July 8, the CAG made a presentation to the 15th Finance Commission (FC), questioning whether extra-budgetary resources (EBRs) were reflected in the fiscal deficit presented during the FY20 Budget on July 5.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the story.

India’s official statistics have recently come under scrutiny, especially with regard to fiscal deficit GDP growth numbers.

The issue of “fiscal transparency in the fiscal reporting of the Union and state governments was discussed especially in the light of increasing trend of off-budget and extra-budgetary resource raising by the governments,” the report said.

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The extent of the government’s EBRs is so far unclear. After adding off-budgetary borrowings, the revenue deficit for FY18 stands at 3.48 percent of GDP and not 2.59 percent as stated officially, the CAG report stated.

The CAG's presentation pegged off-budget borrowings for revenue expenditure at 0.96 percent in FY18, and off-budget borrowings for capital expenditure at 1.43 percent.

Former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian recently questioned the government’s GDP data, saying that GDP growth between 2011 and 2017 was overstated by 2.5 percent.

By Subramanian's calculation, growth was 4.5 percent during those years, as against the official number of 6.7 percent.

The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) has dismissed the claims.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jul 25, 2019 09:45 am

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