India’s eight core sector production grew by 6.8pc for March compared to the prior year. Last month marked the sharpest fall in core sector output in the past six months declining by 4.6pc compared to February 2020. Also, in March 2020, output was down by 8.6pc compared to 2019 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
India’s economic recovery is struggling amid a sharp hike in COVID-19 cases from the end of March onwards. Industrial production was stressed in April and data for the month is expected to decline accordingly. However, a low base in April 2020 could show growth next month.
The core sector output accounts for about 41pc of the index of industrial production. Cumulative overall growth in FY2021 has dipped 7pc compared to the prior fiscal.
Steel production has jumped by 23pc in March from the prior year after declining by 1.8pc in February. The cumulative index dipped by 9.5pc from April 2020-March 2021 compared to the prior year. In March, steel was one of the sectors that posted strong growth after cement and electricity. Demand from the infrastructure sector might be strong as both the cement and steel sectors grew, albeit, against the low base last year.
Coal was a major laggard in March among the eight core sectors. Coal production dipped by 21.9pc compared to the prior year. Crude oil dipped by 3.1pc and refinery production dipped marginally by 0.7pc, while fertilizer production witnessed a drop in 5pc.
Electricity jumped by 21.6pc in March compared to the prior year. Cement production grew by 32pc in March compared to 2020 which stood as the highest gainer in the eight sectors output in March followed by steel.