Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to take a call on fiscal deficit, capex

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman


RBI Governor and 4 deputy governors to attend post-Budget meet on Feb 14; RBI monetary policy announcement today

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to address the post-Budget meeting of the RBI's central board on Monday and highlight key points of the Union Budget 2022-23, including the fiscal consolidation roadmap and high capex plan.

It has been a custom that the Finance Minister addresses the RBI board, consisting of RBI Governor and existing four deputy governors, after the budget. The meeting has been scheduled for February 14 where she would be addressing the board members and talk about announcements made in the Budget to perk up growth hit by three waves of Covid-19, sources said. The Budget 2022-23 presented earlier this month estimates a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 11.1 per cent.

The government expects this growth to be fuelled by a massive capital spending programme outlined in the Budget with a view to crowd-in private investment by reinvigorating economic activities and creating demand. The finance minister raised capital expenditure (capex) by 35.4 per cent for the financial year 2022-23 to Rs 7.5 lakh crore to continue the public investment-led recovery of the pandemic-battered economy.

The capex this year is pegged at Rs 5.5 lakh crore. The spending on building multimodal logistics parks, metro systems, highways, and trains is expected to create demand for the private sector as all the projects are to be implemented through contractors. With regard to borrowing, the government plans to borrow a record Rs 11.6 lakh crore from the market in 2022-23 to meet its expenditure requirement to prop up the economy.

This is nearly Rs 2 lakh crore higher than the current year's Budget estimate of Rs 9.7 lakh crore. Even the gross borrowing for the next financial year will be the highest-ever at Rs 14,95,000 crore as against Rs 12,05,500 crore Budget Estimate (BE) for 2021-22. Fiscal deficit -- the excess of government expenditure over its revenues -- is estimated to come down to 6.4 per cent of GDP next year as against 6.9 per cent pegged for the current fiscal ending March 31.

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