Centre’s debt/liabilities at 57.3% of GDP

 The total amount of the Central government debt or liabilities is estimated at about Rs 155.8 lakh crore (57.3 per cent of GDP), as on March 31, the Parliament was told on Monday.

Out of this, external debt, valued at current exchange rate, is estimated at Rs 7.03 lakh crore (2.6% of GDP), Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

The share of external debt is only about 4.5 per cent of total debt/liabilities of the Central government and less than 3 per cent of GDP. External debt is mostly financed by multilateral and bilateral agencies at concessional rates, and therefore, the risk profile stands out as safe and prudent, said the reply.

The minister also said that the RBI, in consultation with the government, has announced various measures recently to diversify and expand the sources of forex funding to mitigate exchange rate volatility and global spillovers.

Some of such measures are include exemption to Incremental Foreign Currency Non-Resident (Bank) (FCNR(B)) and Non-Resident (External) Rupee (NRE) deposit liabilities from maintenance of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) for deposits mobilised up to November 4, 2022.

Also fresh FCNR(B) and NRE deposits were exempted from the extant regulation on interest rates – interest rates shall not be higher than those offered by the banks on comparable domestic rupee term deposits, till October 31, 2022.

The reply also said that the regulatory regime relating to foreign portfolio investments in debt flows has been revised to encourage foreign investment in Indian debt instruments.

The external commercial borrowing limit (under automatic route) has been raised to $1.5 billion and the all-in-cost ceiling has been raised by 100 basis points in select cases up to December 31, 2022.

In order to promote the growth of exports from India and to support the increasing interest of the global trading community in the Indian rupee, the RBI has put in place an additional arrangement for invoicing, payment, and settlement of exports/imports in INR on July 11, 2022 etc, said the reply.

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