Budget Capex Not as High as It Sounds: Crisil Research


According to reports as Amid FY23 Union Budget’s focus on investments, leading domestic credit rating agency Crisil on Wednesday said that the capital expenditure is “not as high as it sounds”.

It, however, was quick to add that considering that governments usually tend to cut capex during a crisis, the government has maintained its focus on growth-spurring initiatives amid the pandemic, the report said.

The research wing of the agency said, if one excludes the Rs 1 lakh crore of loans to states for Capex included in the headline figure of Rs 7.50 lakh crore or 2.91 percent, the actual spend in FY23, will go down to 2.58 percent of GDP, which is barely at par with the revised estimate of FY22.

Central Capex

The report also pointed out that the overall number showing a rise has been ‘offset’ through a reduction in internal and extra budgetary resources (IEBR), which funds Capex of central public sector enterprises (CPSEs).

IEBR has been budgeted at 1.82 percent of GDP for the next fiscal, much lower than the pre-pandemic average (fiscals 2018-20) of 3.33 percent, it said, attributing the same to poor capex execution by CPSEs lately, the report said.

The overall central Capex for FY22 which is the sum of effective budgetary Capex and IEBR would remain intact at 5.96 percent of GDP for next fiscal, the same as pre-pandemic average between 2018-20.

It can be noted that many quarters had hailed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for her budget speech that mentioned an over 35 percent jump in Capex for FY23, to help revive growth, which has suffered in the pandemic, the report said.

Capex Budget

Additionally, on the revised estimates for FY22, showing a rise in Capex to 2.60 percent from the budget estimate of 2.39 percent, the Crisil report explained that this is due to a one-time expenditure of Rs 51,971 crore towards Air India’s liabilities.

Noting that the government has been able to fully spend its Capex budget, the report said in the last two fiscal, a bulk of expenditure happened in the last quarter and made a plea for frontloading of the committed money to help the demand process.

The mix of the Capex budgeted for FY23 favours employment, the report said, noting the focus on roads and highways and railways sectors. However, the commitment to defence, another jobs-intensive area, has softened a bit, the report said.

It also said that the states will have to “make haste” in utilizing the space offered by the Union Budget by doubling down on their commitment and make full use of the increased Capex loans. (Economic Times)