Govt expects up to Rs 40-bn surplus fund from Sebi: DEA Secretary

The government is eyeing Rs 30-40 billion surplus funds lying from markets regulator Sebi as part of an exercise to mop up non-tax revenue to bridge the fiscal deficit gap, a senior official has said.

The government has already sought dividend of about Rs 130 billion from the Reserve Bank of India for 2016-17.

"Sebi (the Securities and Exchange Board of India) has two kinds of money. One what they earn as penalties and fine etc. That belongs to the government that they regularly deposit... The other one that they earn by way of fee and other decision.

"They have run up into some surplus already. So, there is that should be kept in public account rather than banks. That is being discussed. That amount is not very large, it's around Rs 30-40 billion," Economic Affairs Secretary S C Garg told PTI in an interview.

Asked about additional surplus transfer by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Garg said, the central government has asked for remaining part lying with the central bank to be transferred during the current fiscal.

"We have asked for remaining part of the surplus which is about Rs 130 billion. The RBI has made certain suggestions. It is being discussed with the RBI. The money should come before March 31," he said.

In August, the RBI had paid a dividend of Rs 306.59 billion for the fiscal ended June 2017. It was less than half the Rs 658.76 billion it had paid in 2015-16.

The government had budgeted for a Rs 580 billion dividend from the RBI in its Budget for this fiscal year.

RBI's profit was about Rs 440 billion, of which Rs 300 billion has been distributed and Rs 130 billion it retained towards risks and reserves. So the government has made a suggestion that the Rs 130 billion may also be transferred, he had said.

In the budget for 2017-18, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had pegged dividend income from the RBI, public sector banks and financial institutions at Rs 749 billion.

However, as per the revised estimate, it was substantially lowered down to Rs 548.1 billion from the earlier estimate of Rs 749 billion. Public sector banks still struggled to make profits because of the heavy stressed asset load on their balance sheets.