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Robust Fiscal Management: Centre and States Maintain Sub-7% GDP Fiscal Deficit

In the first half of the fiscal year 2023-24 (H1Fy24), the combined fiscal scenario of the Centre and the States in India has remained resilient, with the gross fiscal deficit (GFD) staying below 7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A recent study by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) sheds light on the fiscal landscape, highlighting the role of enhanced revenue mobilization and prudent financial management.

Improved Revenue and Controlled Deficit

The study reveals that the Centre and States have effectively managed their finances, containing the GFD within seven percent of the GDP in both Q1 and Q2 of 2023-24. This achievement is attributed to improved revenue mobilization, showcasing a sustained economic recovery, strengthened tax governance, and enhanced corporate profitability.

Future Projections and Potential Challenges

Looking ahead, the RBI anticipates buoyant tax collections in the second half of the fiscal year. However, a potential uptick in government expenditure might lead to a GFD of 8.2% and 11.9% of GDP in Q3 and Q4, respectively. The study emphasizes the need for a balance between revenue and expenditure.

Key Factors Influencing Finances

  1. Tax Collections: The Centre exhibited robust direct and indirect tax collections, underlining a sustained economic rebound.
  2. Expenditure Management: The Central government’s focus on capital expenditure (capex) has significantly improved expenditure quality, achieving more than half of the budgeted revenue in H1Fy24.

States’ Fiscal Dynamics

States have mirrored fiscal strength, witnessing buoyancy in tax revenues. Increased capital spending aligns with the Centre’s push for front-loaded capex. However, challenges persist on both revenue and expenditure fronts.

Challenges for States

Reports suggest some states reverting to the old pension scheme (OPS), which could strain state finances, limiting their capacity for growth-oriented capital expenditures.

Questions Related to Exams

Q1: What is the key finding of RBI’s H1Fy24 fiscal review?

A1: The review indicates India’s robust fiscal health, maintaining a gross fiscal deficit under 7% of GDP in the first half of 2023-24.

Q2: What factors contributed to this fiscal resilience?

A2: Enhanced revenue mobilization, buoyant tax collections, and prudent expenditure, particularly in capital spending, played pivotal roles.

Q3: What are the future projections for India’s fiscal scenario?

A3: While anticipating continued buoyancy in tax collections, the RBI warns of potential challenges, projecting a GFD of 8.2% and 11.9% of GDP in Q3 and Q4, respectively.

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