Recently presented Union Budget does not provide updated data on important heads for FY 2018-19

Recently presented Union Budget does not provide updated data on important heads for FY 2018-19


During budget presentations, budget documents, which are provided, carry updated data and information related to various departments and ministries of the Central Government such as on revenues, expenditures, deficits etc. Recently economists like Dr. Rathin Roy and Prof. Jayati Ghosh have expressed concerns about the Ministry of Finance for not uploading updated and appropriate budgetary data and figures on the website www.indiabudget.gov.in following the 2019-20 Union Budget presentation by the Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.

The Inclusive Media for Change team has found that the figures related to 2018-19 Revised Estimates (RE) presented during the Interim Budget dated 1st February, 2019 were exactly replicated in the Final Union Budget documents dated 5th July, 2019. For example, both the Interim and Final Union Budgets show that the Revised Estimates for Tax Revenue (net to Centre) is Rs. 14,84,406 crore for 2018-19. Please compare the figures within the red boxes in the upper and lower sections of table-1 for the corresponding heads/ sub-heads.

It can be observed that the figures related to 2019-20 Budget Estimates (BE) for important heads/ sub-heads like Revenue Receipts, Capital Receipts, Total Receipts, Total Expenditure, Revenue Deficit, Fiscal Deficit etc. have been updated for the Final Union Budget that was presented on 5th July, 2019 vis-à-vis the Interim Budget dated 1st February, 2019. For example, the Fiscal Deficit expected in 2019-20 according to the Final Union Budget is Rs. 7,03,760 crore, whereas the same expected by the Interim Union Budget is Rs. 7,03,999 crore. Please compare the figures within the green boxes in the upper and lower sections of table-1 for the corresponding heads/ sub-heads.

Table 1: Comparison of Receipts, Expenditures and Deficits between Interim and Final Budgets 2019-20

Table 1 Comparison of Different Budgetary Heads between Interim and Final Budgets 2019-20

Source: Budget at a Glance 2019-20 Final Budget, dated 5th July, 2019, please click here to access 

Budget at a Glance 2019-20 Interim Budget, dated 1st February, 2019, please click here to access
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It can be seen from table-1 that the Revised Estimates for 2018-19's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is Rs. 1,88,40,731 crore according to both the Interim and Final Union Budgets. Therefore, it means that the Fiscal Deficit as a proportion of GDP based on Interim Budget figures will exactly be the same as what is calculated on the basis of Final Budget data for Financial Year 2018-19. We will come back to discuss this elaborately after a short while.

Like table-1, table-2 shows that the 2018-19's Revised Estimates for Fiscal Deficit, Revenue Deficit, Effective Revenue Deficit and Primary Deficit and their respective proportions in the GDP remained the same between the Interim and Final Budgets. For example, 2018-19's Revised Estimates for Revenue Deficit is Rs. 4,10,930 crore in both Interim and Final Budgets. Also, Revenue Deficit as a proportion of GDP is 2.2 percent in both Interim and Final Budgets. Please compare the figures within the red boxes in the left and right sections of table-2 for the corresponding heads/ sub-heads.  

Table 2: Comparison of Deficit Statistics between Interim and Final Budgets 2019-20

Table 2 Comparison of Deficit Statistics between Interim and Final Budgets 2019-20
Source: Deficit Statistics 2019-20 Final Budget, dated 5th July, 2019, please click here to access

Deficit Statistics 2019-20 Interim Budget, dated 1st February, 2019, please click here to access
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The 2019-20's Budget Estimates for Fiscal Deficit, Revenue Deficit, Effective Revenue Deficit and Primary Deficit and their respective proportions in the GDP have been updated for the Final Budget dated 5th July, 2019 in comparison to the Interim Budget that was presented on 1st February, 2019. For example, Budget Estimates for 2019-20's Revenue Deficit is Rs. 4,85,019 crore according to the Final Budget, whereas the same is Rs. 4,70,214 crore according to the Interim Budget. Also, Revenue Deficit as a proportion of GDP is 2.3 percent according to the Final Budget as opposed to 2.2 percent as shown by the Interim Budget. Kindly compare the data within the green boxes in the left and right sections of table-2 for the corresponding heads/ sub-heads.

As pointed out by various economists recently, if the Statistical Appendix of the Economic Survey 2018-19 (Volume-2) is consulted, one would be able to access the 2018-19's updated figures/ data related to receipts, expenditures and deficits. On comparing 2018-19's Provisional Actuals (PA) against the Revised Estimates, it could be seen that for most heads/ sub-heads the fiscal situation has deteriorated. For example, 2018-19's Revised Estimates for Fiscal Deficit is Rs. 6,34,398 crore, whereas 2018-19's Provisional Actuals for Fiscal Deficit is Rs. 6,45,361 crore. It shows that the gap between the two is almost Rs. 10,963 crore viz. 1.73 percent. Kindly compare the data within the red boxes of table-3(a) for the corresponding heads/ sub-heads.

Similarly, 2018-19's Provisional Actuals for Tax Revenue (net of States' share viz. net to Centre) is lower than the Revised Estimates' figure by Rs. 1,67,455 crore viz. by -11.28 percent. In an interview given to Karan Thapar dated 11th July, 2019, Prof. Jayati Ghosh of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has said that the lowering of Tax Revenue (mainly Indirect Tax Revenue on account of fall in revenue generated from Goods and Services Tax-GST) between Revised Estimates and Provisional Actuals may indicate that the GDP growth is not up to the mark as is being calculated and showcased by the Centre.

Dr. Rathin Roy has said that the fall in Tax Revenue happened mainly because of a shortfall in GST revenues apart from personal income tax revenues.

Table 3(a): Receipts and Expenditure of the Central Government (in Rs. crore)

Table 3a Receipts and Expenditure of the Central Government in Rs. crore
 
Source: Statistical Appendix, Economic Survey 2018-19, Volume-2, please click here to access 
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Table-3(a) shows that 2018-19's Provisional Actuals for Total Expenditure is lower than the Revised Estimates' figure by Rs. 1,45,813 crore viz. by -5.93 percent.

In a blog post dated 10th July, 2019, Suyash Tiwari of PRS Legislative Research has explained that the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) under the Ministry of Finance maintains the actual receipts and expenditure accounts of the Central Government on a monthly basis. Apart from the monthly accounts, the provisional unaudited figures (termed as Provisional Actuals) for a financial year is published by the CGA by the end of May. Once the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has completed auditing these provisional figures, they are presented as actuals in next year’s budget. According to Tiwari, the CGA reported the figures (unaudited ones though updated vis-à-vis the Revised Estimates) related to receipts, expenditures and deficits for 2018-19 on 31st May, 2019, which were included in the Economic Survey 2018-19 released on 4th July, 2019.

Since the figures/ data related to Revised Estimates are provided prior to the end of a budget year or financial year, they are approximations or projections made by the government. However, the figures as provided by the Provisional Actuals are released much later and so they give a much better and reliable estimates in comparison to the Revised Estimates. In the past like in 2004, when Interim Budget was followed by the Final Budget, there used to be small discrepancies in data. However, the discrepancies in data between 2018-19’s Revised Estimates and Provisional Actuals is extremely high, according to Prof. Jayati Ghosh.

Table-3(b) shows that the growth rate of Fiscal Deficit between 2017-18 and 2018-19 (Revised Estimates) is 7.33 percent, whereas the growth rate for the same between 2017-18 and 2018-19 (Provisional Actuals) is 9.19 percent. Clearly, the growth in Fiscal Deficit has been more if the Provisional Actuals figure is considered instead of Revenue Estimates (as compared to the corresponding figure for 2017-18).

Table 3(b): Yearly Growth of Major Receipts and Expenditures of the Central Government (in Rs. Crore), Growth Rate in percent 

Table 3b Yearly Growth of Major Receipts and Expenditures of the Central Government in Rs. Crore
Source: Statistical Appendix, Economic Survey 2018-19, Volume-2, please click here to access

Note: Growth rate over previous year for various budget heads has been calculated by Inclusive Media for Change. For the last two columns, the growth rate is calculated over 2017-18 for the corresponding heads/ sub-heads

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It could be observed from table-3(b) that between 2017-18 and 2018-19 (Revised Estimates), Revenue Receipts grew by 20.52 percent, whereas the growth rate for the same between 2017-18 and 2018-19 (Provisional Actuals) is 8.91 percent. Similarly, between 2017-18 and 2018-19 (Revised Estimates), Total Expenditure increased by 14.72 percent, whereas the growth rate for the same between 2017-18 and 2018-19 (Provisional Actuals) is 7.91 percent.

Table-4 shows that receipts and expenditures as a proportion of GDP differ between 2018-19's Revised Estimates and Provisional Actuals. Tax Revenue (net of States' share) as a proportion of GDP for 2018-19 is 7.9 percent according to the Revised Estimates as opposed to 6.9 percent if the Provisional Actuals figure is used.

Total Expenditure as a proportion of GDP for 2018-19 is 13.0 percent according to the Revised Estimates in comparison to 12.2 percent if the Provisional Actuals figure is used.

Table 4: Receipts and Expenditure of the Central Government as a percentage of GDP (in percent)

Table 4 Receipts and Expenditure of the Central Government as a percentage of GDP
Source: Statistical Appendix, Economic Survey 2018-19, Volume-2, please click here to access
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Table-4 also indicates that there is no difference between 2018-19's Revised Estimates and Provisional Actuals for Fiscal Deficit as a proportion of GDP (viz. 3.4 percent). This has happened because of rounding off to one decimal place. In the remaining news alert, we will discuss this further.

Table 5(a): GDP at current market prices as per Economic Survey 2018-19 Volume-2

Table 5a GDP at current market prices as per Economic Survey 2018-19 Vol. 2

Source: Chapter 01-State of the Economy in 2018-19: A Macro View, Economic Survey 2018-19, Volume-2, please click here to access
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From table-1 it could be found that the Revised Estimates for 2018-19's GDP is Rs. 1,88,40,731 crore in both the Interim and Final Union Budgets. However, if the Economic Survey 2018-19 is consulted, we get that the GDP at current market prices is Rs. 1,90,10,164 crore (Provisional Estimates) in 2018-19. Please check the highlighted figure in table-5(a).

It may be noted that the Provisional Estimates of GDP at current market prices was released by the National Statistical Office on 31st May, 2019 as shown by table-5(b). The Economic Survey 2018-19 has used this updated GDP figure for 2018-19 so as to compute Fiscal Deficit as a proportion of GDP.

Table 5(b): Provisional Estimates of National Income and Expenditures on GDP 2018-19 at Current Prices (in Rs. Crore)

Table 5b Provisional Estimates of National Income and Expenditures on GDP 2018-19 at current prices in Rs. crore 
Source: Press Note on Provisional Estimates of Annual National Income, 2018-19 and Quarterly Estimates of Gross Domestic Product for the Fourth Quarter (Q4) of 2018-19, released on 31st May, 2019, National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, please click here to access
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Please note that apart from tables 2.5 and 2.6 of Statistical Appendix (on page A 59 and A 60, respectively), Table 1 in Chapter-2: Fiscal Developments (on page 35-36) of Economic Survey 2018-19 Volume-2 should be consulted for more details.

Table 5(c): Receipts and Expenditure of the Union Government as a Proportion of GDP (in percent)
 
Table 5c Receipts and expenditure of the Union Government as a proportion of GDP
 
Source: Data related to Revenue Receipts, Tax Revenue (net of States’ share), Total Expenditure and Fiscal Deficit for 2018-19 (BE), 2018-19 (RE) and 2018-19 (PA) are sourced from table-3(b)

* Budget at a Glance 2018-19 Final Budget, dated 1st February, 2018, please click here to access


** Budget at a Glance 2019-20 Interim Budget, dated 1st February, 2019, please click here to access

*** Press Note on Provisional Estimates of Annual National Income, 2018-19 and Quarterly Estimates of Gross Domestic Product for the Fourth Quarter (Q4) of 2018-19, released on 31st May, 2019, National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, please click here to access
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When rounded off to two decimal places, it could be observed that 2018-19's Fiscal Deficit as a proportion of GDP is 3.37 percent according to the Revised Estimates as opposed to 3.39 percent as per the Provisional Actuals. Therefore, the difference between the two is 0.02 percentage points. Please consult the highlighted figures in table-5(c).

References:

Statistical Appendix, Economic Survey 2018-19 Volume-2, Ministry of Finance, please click here to access 

Budget at a Glance 2019-20 Final Budget, dated 5th July, 2019, please click here to access 

Budget at a Glance 2019-20 Interim Budget, dated 1st February, 2019, please click here to access
 
Budget at a Glance 2018-19 Final Budget, dated 1st February, 2018, please click here to access
 
Deficit Statistics 2019-20 Final, dated 5th July, 2019, please click here to access

Deficit Statistics 2019-20 Interim, dated 1st February, 2019, please click here to access
 
Press Note on Provisional Estimates of Annual National Income, 2018-19 and Quarterly Estimates of Gross Domestic Product for the FourthQuarter (Q4) OF 2018-19, released on 31st May, 2019, National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, please click here to access

Upfront with Karan Thapar - Big Discrepancy in Budget: Interview with JNU Prof. Jayati Ghosh, HTN, published on 11 July, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0vbC6gfx3Q

Explained: Why Centre's Reported Finances in the Economic Survey and Budget Differ -Suyash Tiwari, TheWire.in/ PRS blog, 10 July, 2019, please click here to access 

The Mystery of the 'Missing' Rs. 1.7 lakh crore in India's Budget -Sreenivasan Jain, NDTV, 9 July, 2019, please click here to access
 
Budget 2019: The 'Missing' Rs. 1.7 lakh crore? NDTV, 8 July, 2019, please click here to watch the video
 
Here are the Budget Numbers the Finance Minister does not want you to see -Jayati Ghosh, TheWire.in/ Macroscan.org, 8 July, 2019, please click here to access
 
A silent fiscal crisis? -Rathin Roy, Business Standard, 6 July, 2019, please click here to access  
 
 



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