The growth rate of the eight infrastructure sectors, coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity, stood at (-) 8.6 per cent in March 2020.
According to the commerce and industry ministry data, production of natural gas, steel, cement and electricity jumped 12.3 per cent, 23 per cent, 32.5 per cent and 21.6 per cent in March, as against (-) 15.1 per cent, (-) 21.9 per cent, (-) 25.1 per cent and (-) 8.2 per cent in March 2020, respectively.
Coal, crude oil, refinery products and fertiliser segments recorded negative growth during the month under review.
In 2020-21 (April-March), output of the eight sectors contracted by 7 per cent as against a positive growth of 0.4 per cent in 2019-20.
ICRA Chief Economist Aditi Nayar said the 6.8 pc growth in March, a “32-month high,” is due to the base effect. The low base of the lockdown-hit April 2020 would push up the year-on-year expansion of the index of eight core industries to a sharp 50-70 pc in April 2021, with exceptionally high growth expected in cement and steel.