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Core Sector Growth Rate...

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"We are on path to recovery. We are climbing out in the last three months. April figures are very encouraging ... But we are still in the recovery stage," said Saumitra Chaudhuri, member of the PM's Economic Advisory Council.

Driven by robust performance of key sectors, the output of six core sectors, which has over 26 per cent weight in the Index of Industrial Production, rose by 4.3 per cent during the month compared to 2.3 per cent in April 2008.

The news of smart recovery in performance of the core sector comes within days of the government data revealing that India recorded 6.7 per cent GDP growth rate during 2007-08, despite the impact of the global crisis.

Though recovery was noticed in coal, cement, electricity and steel, the petroleum sector output fell during the month in the backdrop of declining production of crude oil as well as refinery products.

"This is certainly positive news," Chaudhuri said, adding that the performance of the cement sector indicates that construction is very strong.

The output of cement during April went up by 11.7 per cent compared to 6.9 per cent during the corresponding month last fiscal.

Commenting on the core sector's performance during April, Planning Commission Member Anwarul Hoda said, "We seem to be going out of economic slowdown. The main thing to be watched is how soon the world economy comes out of the recession..." As regards 1.6 per cent growth in the finished output of steel, PMEAC member Chaudhuri said, "Growth in steel compared to the second half of the last year is good. This is a passing phase and some improvement is still needed." The output of finished steel declined by 0.6 per cent in April 2008.

Coal production registered a growth rate of 13.2 per cent during the month as compared to 10.4 per cent in the corresponding period last year.

Similarly, electricity generation increased by 6 per cent in April against 1.4 per cent in the same month last year.

Crude oil production, however, continued to remain in the negative zone as it dipped by 3.1 per cent in April while it had registered a growth rate of 1 per cent a year ago.

Production in petroleum refinery products too dipped by 4.3 per cent in April.

Chaudhuri said, "Last year it (oil sector) was (highly) negative, we are in the process of recovery."

The six core industries registered a growth rate of 2.7 per cent in 2008-09 as against 5.9 per cent during the previous fiscal. The output of coal during 2008-09 went up by 7.7 per cent compared to 6.3 per cent in the previous fiscal (2007-08).

As regards cement production, it grew by 7.5 per cent during the last fiscal compared to an increase of 8.1 per cent during 2007-08.

Electricity generation grew by 2.7 per cent in 2008-09 compared to 6.3 per cent in the previous fiscal.

Finished steel recorded growth of 0.4 per cent only during the last fiscal as compared to 6.2 per cent increase in 2007-08.

Petroleum refinery production saw growth of 3 per cent in 2008-09 compared to a 6.5 per cent increase in the previous fiscal, and crude oil production declined by 1.8 per cent in the last fiscal compared to a growth rate of 0.4 per cent recorded in 2007-08.

(PTI)


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