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Will not cross fiscal deficit target with power for all scheme: Government

The Central government on Monday said that it will not exceed its fiscal deficit target for 2017-18 to fund the Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna, a scheme aimed at providing electricity connection to every household.

Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R.K. Singh said that the new scheme announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday will be funded through “existing financial resources”.

“As far as the fiscal deficit is concerned… this (scheme is being funded) through resources which are already there. We are not taking anything extra,” he said at the a function held here to launch the scheme, which is estimated to cost Rs 16,320 crore.

“This scheme is being funded by the central government and a component of it is coming from the state governments… There is no question of anyone depositing anything to avail the benefits of this scheme,” he said.

The scheme envisages to provide free electricity connections to four crore rural households. It also entails easy and hassle-free registration for those who want to avail the benefits of the scheme.

However, several economic analysts have lately expressed concerns over a possible breach of the fiscal deficit target for 2017-18 to fund populist schemes and a like stimulus package for the economy.

Macro-data released on August 31, 2017, showed that country’s April-July fiscal deficit — at Rs 5.05 lakh crore — stood at 92.4 per cent of the full year Budget target of Rs 5.46 lakh crore.

The data that time was furnished by the Comptroller General of Accounts (CGA). It showed that April-July fiscal deficit was 73.7 per cent of the Budget in the like period of the last fiscal.

But within the first four months of the fiscal 2017-18, it had touched 92.4 per cent of the full year target.

The 2017-18 deficit — the difference between revenue and expenditure — has been pegged at Rs 5.46 lakh crore for 2017-18, as compared to the deficit of Rs 5.34 lakh crore for the last fiscal.