New Delhi: Reflecting a slowdown in the economy, the growth rate of eight core infrastructure sectors dipped to 2 percent in March and 4.3 percent during 2011-12 on account of poor performance in crude oil and natural gas.
The growth rate of eight industries - crude oil, petroleum refinery products, natural gas, fertilisers, coal, electricity, cement and finished steel - have a weightage of 37.9 percent in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), in March moderated to 2 percent from 6.5 percent in the same month last year.
The cumulative growth rate of infrastructure industries during fiscal 2010-11 slowed down to 4.3 percent, down from 6.6 percent in 2010-11.
The dismal performance of core industries, according to experts, points to economic slowdown and will have implications for industrial production data to be released on May 12.
"Of-course, it will affect. Not only now, it will also affect IIP in the next year due to lagged effect. It's an ongoing problem. What we need is policy attention," Ficci Secretary General Rajiv Kumar said.
The data, he added, "reaffirms the worst fears and the economy is in a midst of a real slowdown. The government needs to take several steps."
As per the data released by the government natural gas and crude oil contracted by 10.1 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.
Steel, electricity and fertiliser output slowed down by 2.3 percent, 2.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively in the month under review compared to 12 percent, 7.6 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively a year ago.
Crisil chief economist D K Joshi said, the core sector data "will affect the overall IIP" which will be released next month.
Petroleum refinery output dipped by 1.6 percent compared to 8.5 percent in March 2011.
However, on the positive side, coal and cement output grew by 6.8 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively.
During 2011-12 fiscal, natural gas output contracted to 8.9 percent compared to 10 percent in 2010-11.
Coal, refinery products and cement output grew by 1.2 percent, 3.2 percent and 6.7 percent respectively in 2011-12 compared to contraction of 0.2 percent, growth of 3.0 percent and 4.5 percent in the previous fiscal.
Electricity and fertilisers too grew by 8 percent and 0.4 percent against 5.6 percent and zero percent in the year ago period.
The growth rate of crude oil and steel slowed to one percent and 7 percent, respectively compared to growth at 11.9 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively during the same period of 2010-11.
The annual economic growth rate has slowed to 6.9 percent in 2011-12 compared to 8.4 percent in previous two financial years.
Fragile economic recovery in the US and Europe and subdued business sentiments at home affected the growth of the industrial sector in the current year, as per the Economic Survey 2011-12.
First Published: Monday, April 30, 2012, 18:41