Growth in the infrastructure sector rebounded slightly in February as compared with the previous month,growing at 2.2 per cent up from only 1.4 per cent in January. This growth is significantly lower than the 7-per cent growth in infrastructure in February last year,according to official data released by the department of industrial policy and promotion today. The cumulative growth average over the April-February period,too,has almost halved from 5.8 per cent last year to just 3 per cent this fiscal. With industrial growth running in the negative region for three of the last four months,a slight recovery in the infrastructure sectors may spell a mild resurgence in overall industrial growth as well.
Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar pointed out today that the two fiscal stimulus packages announced by the government had begun to take effect and mild slight recovery is already being witnessed in certain crucial sectors like auto,etc. Given this,there is renewed hope that the index of industrial production may also see some resurgence in the coming months.
The major contributors to the slump in infrastructure growth were crude oil,petroleum refinery products and electricity sectors,both of which saw a significant fall in growth over the corresponding month last year. While crude oil production fell 6.2 per cent against a growth of 2.3 per cent last February,production in petroleum refinery products grew just 0.5 per cent compared to 5,8 per cent last year. Growth in electricity generation,on the other hand,fell drastically to 0.3 per cent from almost 10 per cent last February. Other sectors comprising the infrastructure sectors like coal and cement did relatively better but still saw slower growth compared to last year. Growth in coal output slowed down to 6 per cent from 11.6 per cent in last February while that in cement slipped to 8.3 per cent compared to 12.8 per cent last year.
The only sector that performed better was finished steel,which was languishing because of high iron ore prices. It grew 3.6 per cent compared to 2.3 per cent last February.