30 April, New Delhi
Eight core industries registered a negative growth of 0.1 per cent in March, the lowest performance in 15 months, due to a steep decline in production of steel, cement and refinery products.
The output had expanded by 4 per cent in March last year. The previous low logged by the core industries was in October 2013 at negative 0.6 per cent. The growth of eight core industries-coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, electricity, steel and cement, was 1.4 per cent in February this year.
For the full 2014-15 fiscal, the production growth of eight sectors also slowed down to 3.5 per cent, from 4.2 percent in previous financial year ended in March, 2014.
The eight sectors contribute 38 per cent to the overall industrial production, a parameter that the Reserve Bank takes into account while framing its monetary policy.
According to the data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry, production of steel declined by 4.4 percent and of cement by 4.2 per cent in March 2015. Refinery products’ output contracted 1.3 per cent while natural gas by 1.5 per cent.
However, coal production rose by 6 per cent, crude oil by 1.7 per cent and fertiliser output by 5.2 per cent in the last month of 2014-15 fiscal. Electricity generation grew by 1.7 per cent in March 2015 compared to 5.4 per cent in the same month last year.