FY18 fiscal deficit to be below revised target as govt gets RBI, FCI boost


New Delhi, Apr 9: The government’s fiscal deficit at the end of March 2018 may have been slightly below its 2017-18 revised estimate of Rs 5.95 trillion, clawing back from a Rs 1.2-trillion overshoot at the end of February.
This was achieved partly as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) transferred an additional Rs 100 billion in surplus to the central coffers, and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) returned nearly Rs 500 billion in allocation to the finance ministry.
Fiscal deficit for April-February 2017-18 was Rs 7.16 trillion, a staggering 120 per cent of the revised estimates for the full financial year. This was the highest overshoot for the 11-month period in any recent financial year, and left the Centre with a proverbial mountain to climb in March.
Top bureaucrats, including Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Garg, have announced since that the revised fiscal deficit target for 2017-18 has been met, though no official numbers for March other than those for direct tax, and some disinvestment details, have been made public so far.
“We had given some advance to FCI, of around Rs 450-500 billion. That was getting classified as capital expenditure. They returned the amount in March. So you will see that capital expenditure has gone down by that much when the data are released,” said a senior official. The April-March fiscal deficit numbers will be released on May 31, along with the January-March quarter gross domestic product data.