NEW DELHI: The government plans to borrow an additional Rs 50,000 crore in this financial year, raising concerns that it may miss the fiscal deficit target. The additional borrowing suggests the government may not cut spending to meet the fiscal deficit target as that would undermine economic recovery.
The finance ministry said there will not be any net additional borrowing in the third quarter. Treasury Bills (T-Bills)will be run down by Rs 61,203 crore and additional borrowing through government securities will be Rs 50,000 crore, the ministry said in a statement.
Experts said while the extra borrowing raises fiscal concerns, the market had already pencilled in a deficit of about 3.5% of GDP against the budgeted target of 3.2% of GDP.
Against Rs 43,000 crore budgeted through dated securities, the government will borrow Rs 93,000 crore.
“The government will raise additional market borrowings of Rs 50,000 crore only in fiscal FY18 through dated government securities,” the finance ministry said.
“Government is giving enough signals that it will breach (the fiscal deficit target). It is sensible to breach considering you have already borrowed so much more. We expect a slippage of about 0.2% in the fiscal deficit,” said Abheek Barua, chief economist at HDFC Bank.
Fiscal concerns have risen on account of a decline in collections from the goods and services tax, non-tax revenue coming in below estimates on account of lower dividend from the Reserve Bank of India and the spectrum auction unlikely to yield much this year.
The finance ministry has so far maintained that it has met its fiscal commitments. If it does breach the target, it will be a first for this government.
“While the upward revision in the government of India’s dated issuance calendar for January-February 2018 is being offset by the reduction in the planned T-Bills issuance, concerns regarding a mild fiscal slippage persist on account of the sequential dip in GST collections for November 2017,” said Aditi Nayar, principal economist at ICRA.
ET reported on Tuesday that an influential section of the government was not in favour of cutting spending as that would undermine growth recovery. The economy expanded 6.3% in July-September quarter, up from a three-year low of 5.7% in April-June.
Barua said this may not necessarily upset the bond market. “This was anticipated and priced in by markets. It is a very credible number and reflects to an extent the problem with indirect tax collection… This should calm the bond markets and there should be a pull back on yields,” he said.
The government has budgeted gross and net market borrowings at Rs 5.8 lakh crore and Rs 4.23 lakh crore, respectively, with a net Rs 3.48 lakh crore being raised from dated government securities and Rs 2,002 crore from T-Bills. T-Bills will be trimmed from Rs 86,203 crore to Rs 25,006 crore by March end.