NEW DELHI: Raising concerns of subdued industrial production numbers, the growth in eight core industries slowed down to 1.8 per cent in January, the lowest in at least 13 months, due to negative expansion in crude oil and natural gas.
The eight core sector industries - coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity - had expanded by 3.7 per cent in January, 2014.
Crude oil production declined 2.3 per cent in January 2015 over January 2014. The cumulative index of crude oil during April to January, 2014-15 declined 1.0 per cent over the corresponding period of previous year.
The natural gas production declined 6.6 per cent in January 2015. Its cumulative index during April to January, 2014-15 declined 5.2 per cent over the corresponding period of previous year.
The core sector contributes 38 per cent to the overall industrial production, a parameter that the RBI takes into account while framing its monetary policy.
The country’s central bank, however, refrained from lowering rates further at its policy meeting last month, saying it was waiting to see more signs that inflation was cooling and the government would deliver “high quality fiscal consolidation” in the budget.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government would meet the ‘challenging’ aim of keeping India’s fiscal deficit at 4.1 per cent of the gross domestic product, but said he would need three years to narrow the gap to three per cent.
Production of crude oil and natural gas contracted by 2.3 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively, according to the data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry.
However, coal and refinery products output grew by 1.7 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively against 1.2 per cent and contraction of 4.2 per cent in the year ago period.
During April-January period, the eight sectors grew by 4.1 per cent as against 4 per cent in the same period of the previous fiscal.