New Delhi: The finance ministry on Wednesday sought Parliament’s approval for an additional expenditure of Rs11,166 crore for the financial year 2017-18, including Rs2,000 crore for refunding central goods and services tax (GST) to formerly excise duty-free zones in the country and Rs250 crore for “effective publicity" and creating awareness of GST.
The first batch of supplementary demands for grants for 2017-18 presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha includes 61 grants and three appropriations.
Jaitley presented the budget for 2017-18 on 1 February this year and budgeted total expenditure to rise 6.6% to Rs21.5 trillion.
Of the additional expenditure, the net cash outgo is Rs10,647.45 crore while the rest will be met through savings or enhanced receipts by government departments.
The government has allocated Rs7,000 crore to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas for providing differential royalty to state governments and Rs2,000 crore to the department of industrial policy and promotion for providing budgetary support to units located in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and north-eastern states including Sikkim under the GST regime and grants for creation of capital assets under the National Industrial Corridors Development and Implementation Trust.
The department of consumer affairs has been allocated Rs500 crore for procurement of pulses under the Price Stabilisation Fund scheme. An amount of Rs200 crore has been earmarked for reimbursement of merchant discount rate charges to banks to promote digital transactions.
Experts believe this is unlikely to bump up the government’s fiscal deficit. Arjun Ram Meghwal, minister of state for finance, in reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, said that the government is committed to the policy of fiscal rectitude and is determined to bring down fiscal deficit to 3.2% in 2017-18 as budgeted. The fiscal deficit of the centre as a percentage of GDP declined consistently from 4.5% in 2013-14 to 4.1%, 3.9% and 3.5% in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively.