India to borrow Rs 3.71 lakh crore to cover next fiscal target of Rs 5.8 lakh crore

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 : The Economic Affairs Secretary, Shaktikanta Das on Tuesday set the gross market borrowing for the first six months at Rs 3.71 lakh crore or 64per cent of the full year's target of Rs 5.8 lakh crore.

"The budget for next year has been passed and the appropriation bills are through. Therefore, the entire expenditure which is approved in the budget, the entire money is available to the various Ministries and departments to spend right from 1st of April," said Das to reporters.

Das further stated that, the Centre is unlikely to step up investment in infrastructure significantly during the first half of 2017-18, as most of its borrowed funds will have to be spent for retiring old debt.

"During 2017-18, the government has to repay Rs 1.57 lakh crore to investors as bonds mature and come up for redemption.

Of the total redemption, 90 per cent is happening in first half of 2017-18. This means close to a third of the borrowing will needed for retiring old debt and only Rs 2.3 lakh crore will be left for expenditure for social schemes, interest payments and investment in infrastructure," said Das.

"The first half borrowing will be higher on government bond redemption as well as expenditure needs," he added.

Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech on February 1, projected a fiscal deficit of 3.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017-18 as compared with 3.5% in 2016-17.

India's economic growth is projected at 7.1 per cent during 2016-17, as compared with 7.9 per cent in 2015-16.

Source: ANI