The central government, it was officially confirmed on Friday, managed to rein in its fiscal deficit for 2014-15 at four per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), against the 4.1 per cent pegged in the Budget Estimate (BE) and its Revised Estimate (RE).
Tentative indications in this regard had been issued recently but were awaiting confirmation.
However, in the first month, April, of the new financial year, 2015-16, the deficit was Rs 1.27 lakh crore or 23 per cent of the full-year BE of Rs 5.56 lakh crore, due to front-loading of spending. This was higher than the 21.4 per cent of the BE in April 2014.
In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit was checked at Rs 501,880 crore in 2014-15 against the RE of Rs 512,628 crore and the BE of Rs 531,177 crore.
The deficit is estimated at 3.9 per cent of GDP for 2015-16.
April 2015 had no tax receipts; rather, refunds amounted to Rs 2,813 crore. Non-tax revenue was Rs 28,126 crore or 12.7 per cent of the full-year target of Rs 2.22 lakh crore. Total receipts for the month were Rs 27,094 crore or 2.2 per cent of the full-year BE of Rs 12.22 lakh crore, compared with 0.6 per cent for April 2014.
Non-plan expenditure for the month was Rs 1.19 lakh crore or 9.1 per cent of the full-year target of Rs 13.12 lakh crore. For April 2014, it was eight per cent of the full-year target. Plan spending for April 2015 was Rs 35,160 crore, about 7.6 per cent of the BE of Rs 4.65 lakh crore, compared with four per cent for the year-ago period.
As a norm, successive governments front-load spending for the financial year, while most revenues come during the second half.