India to stick to 2022/23 borrowing plan in Sept review - sources

·2-min read
A commuter walks past the building of India's Ministry of Finance during dusk in New Delhi

By Aftab Ahmed and Swati Bhat

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will stick to its annual market borrowing plan when the government announces its October-March fiscal calendar by the end of this month, three officials told Reuters, despite taking a series of budget measures to control inflation.

By the end of September, the government will borrow 8.45 trillion Indian rupees ($105.82 billion), out of the record planned borrowing of 14.31 trillion Indian rupees ($179.20 billion) for the 2022/23 year starting on April 1.

"Unlikely we will increasing borrowing this year. We should be able to absorb the revenue spending we did so far within the budgeted limits," said a senior government official, who did not want to be named because the decision has not yet been made public.

The finance ministry did not reply to requests for comment.

Surging inflation due to rising global commodity prices has forced the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a series of measures that have led to an additional cost of an estimated $26 billion this year.

The government cut taxes on retail fuel and import of certain essential goods, while restricting exports of commodities like wheat.

The officials said it expects tax collection for the current year to surpass its targets, which will partly help to meet expenses on inflation fighting measures.

The government in its borrowing calendar for the second half of the fiscal year is likely to also announce it first green bonds, said another government official, who also did not want be named.

Green bonds were first floated by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the 2022/23 budget as a part of overall market borrowing and the intention of using the funds to build green infrastructure.

GLOBAL BOND INDEX

The Indian government will not factor in bond index inclusion while planning its second half borrowing, one of the officials said.

The Indian government began considering listing its debt in global indexes in 2019 and has been in discussions with J.P.Morgan and Bloomberg-Barclays, while also talking to Euroclear about clearing and settlement.

Media reports last week said JP Morgan had started new consultations with investors about adding India to its emerging market index, rekindling expectations of an imminent listing of the country's securities.

Indian finance minister said on Monday global bond index inclusion will come to its natural conclusion soon.

Reuters last week reported India wants global bond index operators to consider the local settlement of its government securities if they are included in their indexes.

"We see a good chance that JPM will announce the inclusion in September, surprising the market," Morgan Stanley said in a note last week.

($1 = 79.8550 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Swati Bhat; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)