The Centre's fiscal deficit for April-February 2021 came in 76 per cent of the 2020-21 revised estimates of Rs 18.49 lakh crore, official data showed on March 31. The April-February 2021 fiscal gap stands at 14.06 lakh crores against 10.37 lakh crores on year-on-year basis. While the February fiscal deficit stands at 1.72 lakh crore versus Rs 51,013 crore on a YoY basis.
Among other details, the Finance Ministry said that the April to February 2021 revenue gap stood at Rs 10.43 lakh crore versus Rs 7.83 lakh crore (YoY). For February alone, the revenue deficit stood at Rs 1.31 lakh crore versus 32,400 crore (YoY).
The spending during April-February 2021 stood at Rs 28.19 lakh crore against Rs 24.65 lakh crore a year earlier. While the spending in February alone was reported at Rs 3.01 lakh crore against RS 1.97 lakh crore on YoY basis.
Capital expenditure for April-February stood at Rs 4.05 lakh crore, or 92.4 per cent of the full year revised estimates, compared with 3.04 lakh crore for the same period last year. The capex target for the year was revised upwards by around Rs 27,000 crore.
"With substantial headroom left in terms of the food subsidy amount that was yet to be disbursed at end-February 2021, we expect the fiscal deficit to climb sharply in the final month of FY2021," said Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist with ICRA Ltd.
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"Regardless, we anticipate the centre's fiscal deficit to trail the FY2021 revised estimates by around Rs. 1.3-1.5 lakh crore, based on our expectation of a modest upside to the tax revenues, and undershooting of its non-interest non-subsidy revenue expenditure. Accordingly, we forecast the fiscal deficit in FY2021 at Rs. 17.0-17.2 lakh crore,"she said.
The comfortable fiscal position is primarily due to the fact that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had, in her 2021-22 Union Budget, revised the fiscal deficit target for the current fiscal year to Rs 18.49 lakh crore, or 9.5 per cent of real gross domestic product, compared to budget estimates of Rs 7.96 lakh crore or 3.5 per cent of GDP.
This was on the back of massively stressed tax and divestment revenues, plus increased expenditure commitments due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant economic slowdown.