India’s debt soared to 58.8% of the gross domestic product in the fiscal year ended March from 51.6% a year ago as the economic contraction forced the government to borrow a record amount to meet a revenue shortfall, finance ministry data showed, prompting experts to raise concerns over debt sustainability in the medium term.

The fiscal deficit widened to 9.2% of GDP in FY21 from 4.6% of GDP a year ago as revenue receipts contracted 3%, with the economy shrinking 7.3%. The contraction, the steepest in independent India, is ascribed to the disruption in economic activities caused by the first wave of the pandemic.

The Union government debt includes the stock of total liabilities due to internal debt raised through treasury bills, bonds and securities; external debt mainly raised from multilateral institutions; and public account liabilities such as provident fund…

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