Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting her fourth budget today amid expectations that measures could be announced in it to provide relief from inflation to the common man and provide incentives for job creation.
However let us look at some of the key figures which need to be watched out for in the budget.
Fiscal Deficit: It is basically the difference between government’s spending and income. In the budget for 2021-22, Ms Sitharaman had in the wake of the pandemic discarded the government’s fiscal consolidation roadmap to reach a fiscal deficit of 3 per cent of GDP, but announced its medium-term objective to reduce the fiscal deficit to 4.5 per cent of GDP by 2025-26. She had pegged the fiscal deficit target at 6.8 per cent of GDP for 2021-22 as against 9.2 per cent in the previous fiscal.
In the first eight months of 2021-22, the government’s fiscal deficit stood at 46.2 per cent of the full-year target.
Covid Spending: India had started the world’s largest Covid vaccination programme on January 16, 2021. The expenditure on the entire programme in the next fiscal would be the most-watched figures in the budget. The budget estimate for vaccine expenditure for the current fiscal was Rs 35,000 crore.
Disinvestment Figure: The government has rarely met the high disinvestment targets set in previous budgets. With the focus on privatisation and keeping in mind fiscal consolidation and capital expenditure, the number would be closely watched.
Capital Expenditure: The government’s planned capital expenditure for this fiscal is budgeted at over Rs 5.5 lakh crore. The government has to push infrastructure creation and this number would be in focus for the next fiscal too.
Tax Revenue: The government has budgeted a 9.5 per cent growth in tax collections at Rs 22.2 lakh crore for the 2021-22 fiscal (April-March, 2022). With the economic survey projecting a GDP growth of 8-8.5 per cent in the next fiscal, the buoyancy in tax revenue too would be closely watched.
Borrowing: The government’s gross borrowing budget was at Rs 12.05 lakh crore, while net borrowing was pegged at Rs 9.37 lakh crore in the current financial year ending March 31. The government borrows from the market to fund its fiscal deficit and the borrowing number would be watched by the market, especially on the back of expected higher capital expenditures to boost growth.