New Delhi: Fiscal deficit in the first five months of 2012-13 stood at 65.7 percent of the budget estimates, slightly better compared to 66.3 percent in the same period a year ago, according to Controller General of Accounts (CGA) data released Friday.
In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit -- gap between expenditure and revenue collection -- was Rs 3.37 lakh crore in the five months through August 2012, CGA data showed.
The slight improvement in fiscal deficit position is mainly on account of some tightening on expenditure front and higher growth in revenue collections.
Incidentally, Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram had said yesterday, "I don't think we will be able to contain fiscal deficit to our Budget plan of 5.1 percent (of GDP). It could be 5.2 to 5.3 percent, which is doable".
The government's revenue collection increased at a higher rate of 22.7 percent in the said period compared to 21.8 percent in the corresponding period last year.
At the same time, total expenditure of the government also rose marginally to 37.9 percent as against 37.5 percent in the year-ago period.
The high fuel, fertiliser and food subsidy outgo is one of the major reasons for the ballooning fiscal deficit. The government intends to bring down the fiscal deficit, which touched 5.76 percent of the GDP in the last fiscal, to 5.1 percent of the GDP.
In order to bring down the subsidy, the government earlier this month raised the diesel price by a steep Rs 5 per litre and capped the number of subsidised cooking gas cylinder to six per household a year.
Despite raising fuel price and other administrative measures, the government consider that containing the fiscal deficit to estimated level of 5.1 percent for the current financial year would be a problem.
According to the data, the net tax collections at the end of August, 2012 stood at Rs 1,75,061 crore.
The CGA data also said revenue deficit during the period was Rs 2,27,435 crore or 79.2 percent of the budget estimates.
First Published: Friday, September 28, 2012, 22:15