India's core sectors record over 4% growth

Monday, 24 February 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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Buoyed by strong demand for cement and steel in highways, rural roads and housing sectors, India's six core sectors registered over four percent growth in January.

NEW DELHI: The sectors also registered an overall 5.2 percent increase during the April-January period. Demand for cement, though substantially lower than in January 2002 when it recorded a 15.8 percent growth, has remained high with a 9.2 percent rise in consumption last month, according to the commerce ministry.

During the 10-month period under study, cement led the growth with a 9.7 percent rise as against 5.9 percent in the corresponding period in 2001-02 fiscal.

In the case of finished steel, while the growth in January was very much lower at five percent compared to 13.4 percent in the corresponding month last year, it recorded an overall 7.7 percent hike in April-January as against 3.5 percent in the same period in 2001-02.

The core sectors including crude petroleum, refining, coal, electricity, cement and steel accounts for around a quarter of India's industrial output.

Despite fears of an impact of drought, the infrastructure sector has registered a 5.2 percent growth during the period.

The government has been striving to push up the infrastructure growth with a focus on roads programme and soft loans for housing. This is expected to remain the drivers of an upward movement in the upcoming federal budget.

Petroleum products also maintained a high 9.2 percent growth last month, close to the 9.4 percent growth of last year. The growth in this period was 4.2 percent, lower than 4.9 percent last year.

Barring coal, the only sector to record a negative growth last month, all other core sectors witnessed a healthy growth.

Seen as indicators of growth in industrial sectors, the data has raised optimism of a higher than five percent economic growth despite an expected downslide in agriculture production, which is likely to hit the overall GDP performance.
Source: IANS

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