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India's April-September fiscal deficit at 5.95 trillion rupees

A customer hands a 50-rupee note to an attendant at a fuel station in Ahmedabad, India, October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Amit Dave

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s April-September fiscal deficit stood at 5.95 trillion rupees ($81.20 billion), or 95.3 percent of the budgeted target for current fiscal year, government data showed on Thursday.

The figure compares to 91.3 percent in the same period a year earlier.

Rising oil prices have been a major drag on India’s import bill in 2018, leading credit rating agencies to question whether the country can meet its fiscal deficit target of 3.3 percent of GDP in the 2018/19 fiscal year.

Global crude prices have fallen by around 11 percent in the last three weeks, easing pressure on the Prime Minister Narendra government, as his Bharatiya Janata Party girds for a series of state elections in coming months and a national election due by May.

The government said last month that it was confident of meeting its fiscal deficit target of 3.3 percent of gross domestic product for the fiscal year ending in March 2019.

Net tax receipts in the first half were 5.83 trillion rupees, less than 40 percent of the full-year target, government data showed, but a finance ministry official said there was typically a rush to pay in the final months.

Following an increase in bond yields to over 8 percent, interest payments on government debt rose to 2.55 trillion rupees in the first six months compared with 2.26 trillion rupees a year ago.

($1 = 73.2750 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Malini Menon & Simon Cameron-Moore