Nirmala Sitharaman advances Viksit Bharat via infrastructure
ECONOMY & POLICY

Nirmala Sitharaman advances Viksit Bharat via infrastructure

Last year, when the Budget was presented by the finance minister, the deficit projections for 2023-24 were based on the assumption that the nominal GDP would be nearly Rs 302 trillion.

According to current estimates, that number is now under Rs 297 trillion. If the absolute deficit numbers had remained at Budget estimates (BE), they would have represented a larger proportion of GDP due to the reduction in the denominator. However, the revised estimates (RE) indicate that the fiscal deficit is 5.8% of GDP, slightly lower than the budgeted 5.9%.

The question arises: was this achievement the result of higher receipts? Not exactly. In fact, total receipts in the revised estimates are slightly lower than in the Budget estimates (Rs 44.9 trillion against Rs 45 trillion). What has contributed to keeping the deficit in check is a reduction in "effective capital expenditure" by about Rs trillion, with the RE of Rs 12.7 trillion falling approximately 7% short of the budgeted figure. Effective capital expenditure encompasses both the Centre's own capital spending and the grants-in-aid provided for the capital expenditure of states.

Despite a somewhat higher than budgeted revenue expenditure (Rs 35.4 trillion against Rs 35 trillion), the total expenditure was kept within the budgeted figure. Consequently, the fiscal deficit, which is the gap between total expenditure and receipts other than borrowings, is now estimated to reach Rs 17.3 trillion instead of the initially budgeted Rs 17.9 trillion. This ensures that it remains within the budget target of 5.9% of GDP.

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Last year, when the Budget was presented by the finance minister, the deficit projections for 2023-24 were based on the assumption that the nominal GDP would be nearly Rs 302 trillion. According to current estimates, that number is now under Rs 297 trillion. If the absolute deficit numbers had remained at Budget estimates (BE), they would have represented a larger proportion of GDP due to the reduction in the denominator. However, the revised estimates (RE) indicate that the fiscal deficit is 5.8% of GDP, slightly lower than the budgeted 5.9%. The question arises: was this achievement the result of higher receipts? Not exactly. In fact, total receipts in the revised estimates are slightly lower than in the Budget estimates (Rs 44.9 trillion against Rs 45 trillion). What has contributed to keeping the deficit in check is a reduction in effective capital expenditure by about Rs trillion, with the RE of Rs 12.7 trillion falling approximately 7% short of the budgeted figure. Effective capital expenditure encompasses both the Centre's own capital spending and the grants-in-aid provided for the capital expenditure of states. Despite a somewhat higher than budgeted revenue expenditure (Rs 35.4 trillion against Rs 35 trillion), the total expenditure was kept within the budgeted figure. Consequently, the fiscal deficit, which is the gap between total expenditure and receipts other than borrowings, is now estimated to reach Rs 17.3 trillion instead of the initially budgeted Rs 17.9 trillion. This ensures that it remains within the budget target of 5.9% of GDP.

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