A Rs 25,000 crore receipts shortfall and additional expenditure on drought notwithstanding, the government is yet to exhaust its budgeted market borrowings for the current fiscal.
With just five weeks remaining for the fiscal to draw a close, the government has a Rs 6,741 crore cushion before it exhausts its target set in Budget 2002.
As on February 21, the Centre had completed market borrowings of Rs 1,36,126 crore against the target of Rs 1,42,867 crore for the full fiscal.
This indicates that the government is expected to save substantially through a cut in Plan expenditure, besides the savings in defence and interest payments.
In the last fiscal year, the government had exceeded its market borrowings by almost Rs 15,000 crore.
While the target for 2001-02 was Rs 1,18,852 crore, the actual borrowings were Rs 1,33,801 crore.
Incidentally, the government had a tax shortfall of almost Rs 30,000 crore.
The net borrowing for the current fiscal (gross borrowings less repayments) on February 21 was also lower at Rs 90,619 crore compared to Rs 95,859 crore for the full year. According to primary dealers, the government had in November 2002 suspended a Rs 5,000 crore borrowing plan.