Faced with subdued revenue mop-up and rising fiscal deficit, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said he is “losing sleep” over mounting subsidy bill, which may cross Budget estimate by Rs 1 lakh crore in 2011-12.
“As Finance Minister when I think of enormity of the subsidies to be provided, I lose my sleep. There is no doubt,” said Mukherjee, who is engaged in the process of firming the Budget for 2012-13 to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on March 16.
The government had earlier said that its subsidy bill is likely to increase by over Rs 1 lakh crore, over and above the original estimate of Rs 1.34 lakh crore, mainly on account of higher outlay towards fertiliser, food and oil.
In view of the moderate growth in revenue collection and poor receipts from disinvestment on one hand and the rising subsidy on the other, the Finance Minister will have a tough time in balancing the budget figures.
The fiscal deficit, which he had proposed to bring down from 4.7% to 4.6% of GDP in 2011-12, is expected to in the range of 5.6%.
Latest tax figures released suggest that government has collected Rs 6.63 lakh crore up till January and will not be able to achieve the Rs 9.32 lakh crore target for the fiscal.
Meanwhile, CBDT Chairman Laxman Das has written to top Income Tax officials to take up the “challenge” of filling the deficit.
“At this critical juncture, our task as revenue administrators becomes that much more challenging. As senior officers, we have to play a critical role in making all possible efforts to improve the situation. We have to ensure every CC/DG achieves the budget target,” Das told his Chief Commissioners and Commissioners.
The Finance Ministry said in a statement that at the present rate of growth, the Central Board of Excise and Customs, responsible for collecting indirect taxes, “should be able to achieve the target of Rs 3,92,908 crore”.