The output of eight core industries contracted by 6.5 per cent in March owing to a fall in crude oil, natural gas, cement, electricity, among others amid the coronavirus lockdown, the government data showed on Thursday. The crude oil sector shrank 5.5 per cent, natural gas 15.2 per cent, refinery products 0.5 per cent, fertilisers 11.9 per cent, steel 13 per cent, cement 24.7 per cent and electricity 7.2 per cent in March, the data also showed.
Coal was the only sector that grew at 4 per cent. "Coal production (weight: 10.33per cent) increased by 4.0 per cent in March, 2020 over March, 2019. Its cumulative index declined by 0.5 per cent during April to March, 2019-20 over corresponding period of the previous year," the government said in a release.
The eight core industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). For FY20, the growth of eight core industries remained flat over FY19 with 0.6 percent growth as against 4.4 percent in FY19.
India has been under a lockdown since March 25. The lockdown is expected to be lifted on May 3.