Business Standard

Govt has no plan for additional borrowing to manage fiscal deficit: Report

This, despite sacrificing revenue on account of reduction in duties on petroleum products and other goods, say official sources

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The government is not planning any additional borrowing and will stick to the borrowing target fixed for the current fiscal year despite sacrificing revenue on account of reduction in duties on petroleum products and other goods, official sources said on Wednesday.

In order to contain rising inflation, the government last week reduced excise duty on petrol by a record Rs 8 per litre and that on diesel by Rs 6 to give relief to consumers reeling under high fuel prices that have also pushed inflation to a multi-year high.

Besides, it also provided Rs 200 per cylinder subsidy on LPG to about 90 million beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.

The tax reduction on petrol and diesel will lead to revenue loss of around Rs 1 trillion per year for the government.
In addition to the fertiliser subsidy of Rs 1.05 trillion in the Budget (for current fiscal), the government provided Rs 1.10 trillion to further cushion farmers from the price increase due to the shortage of fertilisers.

It was feared that these sops may prompt the government to resort to additional borrowing to meet the fiscal deficit target of 6.4 per cent of the GDP.

However, official sources said that the government does not intend to resort to additional borrowing at the moment to make up for the duty loss.

The government will stick to its borrowing calender planned for the current fiscal.

The government in the Budget had set a gross market borrowing target of Rs 14.31 trillion for the current financial year.

Of this, Rs 8.45 trillion is estimated to be borrowed in the first half or April-September period.

As per the Union Budget document, the gross market borrowing through dated securities for 2022-23 will be Rs 14,95,000 crore. Taking into account the switch operations conducted on January 28, 2022, the gross market borrowing through dated securities for 2022-23 is expected at Rs 14,31,352 crore. The gross borrowing for 2021-22 was Rs 12,05,500 crore.

Based on its borrowing programme, the government had pegged fiscal deficit of 6.4 per cent of the GDP.

In her Budget speech on February 1, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the fiscal deficit in 2022-23 is estimated at 6.4 per cent of GDP, which is consistent with the broad path of fiscal consolidation announced by her last year to reach a fiscal deficit level below 4.5 per cent by 2025-26.

"While setting the fiscal deficit level in 2022-23, I am conscious of the need to nurture growth, through public investment, to become stronger and sustainable," she had said.

Talking about inflation, sources said, the government is taking action to cool prices and also support agriculture-related sectors in India.

Retail inflation rose to a eight-year high of 7.79 per cent in April.

Inflation is being caused entirely due to outside factors especially because of Russia-Ukraine war.

Sources also said India had to put a ban on exports of wheat as World Trade Organization (WTO) was unable to resolve issues regarding the shipment.

The difficulties included WTO rules around the export of food by a country that had also procured food on a minimum support price basis.
Sources also said that the government is taking steps to increase production of oilseeds and pulses.

On the ongoing shortage of cement across the country, sources said though there is excess capacity in southern India there are logistical issues which need to be taken care of.

"There have been few rounds of discussions between government and cement manufactures, where they have given their suggestions to improve supply," sources said. 

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: May 25 2022 | 7:24 PM IST

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