India's industrial output, measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), grew 22.4 per cent in March on the back of a lower base last year because of the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections.
While mining output grew 6.1 per cent in March, manufacturing zoomed 25.8 per cent. Electricity generation also rose 22.5 per cent.
The outbreak of COVID-19 lockdown in March last year had led to states imposing restrictions and the Centre announcing a nationwide lockdown during last week of March which hit industrial production. IIP had contracted 18.7 per cent in March 2020.
Hit by the pandemic and the restrictions, IIP contracted 8.6 per cent during financial year 2020-21 as against 0.8 per cent contraction in FY20.
"For the month of March 2021, the quick estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base 2011-12 stands at 143.4. The Indices of Industrial Production for the mining, manufacturing and electricity sectors for the month of March 2021 stand at 139.0, 140.4 and 180.0 respectively. These quick estimates will undergo revision in subsequent releases as per the revision policy of IIP," the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) said.
Along with March numbers, IIP for February 2021 after first revision and for December 2020 after final revision were also released. While IIP contracted 3.4 per cent in February, it grew 2.2 per cent in December.
"Given the low base of the lockdown, we believe it's more meaningful to compare the industrial performance in March 2021 with March 2019, which reveals a mild albeit sobering contraction of 0.5 per cent," ICRA Chief Economist Aditi Nayar said on IIP numbers,
"...we expect the IIP to expand by a transient but relatively meaningless about 150 per cent in April 2021 on the low base of the nationwide lockdown that was in effect in April 2020," Nayar added, warning that many of the lead indicators have displayed a slowing sequential momentum in April 2021, reflecting the rising COVID-19 cases and re-emergence of restrictions.
Meanwhile, India's Consumer Price Index (CPI) based retail inflation eased to 4.29 per cent in April from 5.52 per cent in March.