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The latest narrative about the Union government’s finances is that they have stayed within the norms of fiscal prudence so far. Endorsing this view are the official numbers for the April-September period of 2023-24, which show that the Centre’s net tax collections in the first half of the year have grown by a healthy rate of 15 per cent, higher than the Budget’s annual target of 11 per cent. It is also argued that the poor performance of disinvestment will be offset by sharp gains in non-tax revenues, mainly due to higher dividends from state-owned banks and the Reserve Bank of India.
What about the Centre’s expenditure? That is where doubts start surfacing over the government’s ability to adhere to its