Finance Secretary TV Somanathan on Wednesday exuded confidence that the fiscal deficit target of 6.4 per cent of GDP in 2022-23 will be met without pruning capital expenditure.
The Union Budget has pegged the fiscal deficit at Rs 16.61 lakh crore or 6.4 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for the financial year ending March 2023.
"We are on course to achieve our fiscal deficit target and it is not because of a slowdown in capital expenditure," said Somanathan, who is also expenditure secretary. He further said the government will focus on capital expenditure and try to control revenue expenditure to the extent possible.
"We have some large revenue contingencies, which are going to come in here in terms of fertiliser subsidies and food subsidies. So, the fact that revenue expenditure has been growing slightly less than proportionately to that is not a bad thing. It's a good thing," he added. The capital expenditure was Rs 1.75 lakh crore during the first quarter of 2022-23 or 23.4 per cent of the budget estimate and 57 per cent higher as compared to the corresponding period of the last year.
The revenue expenditure has narrowed to 28.7 per cent of the annual budget target during April-July from 29.9 per cent in the year-ago period. As per the Union Budget document, the gross market borrowing through dated securities for 2022-23 will be Rs 14,95,000 crore.
The secretary was interacting with the media after the release of GDP data for the first quarter of the current fiscal. On the GST collections, he said the Goods and Services Tax mop-up during August is likely to be in the range of Rs 1.42 - 1.43 lakh crore, or about 27 per cent more than August 2021.The government would be releasing the GST data for August on Thursday. In July, the GST collection was Rs 1.49 lakh crore, the second-highest level since its introduction in July 2017.