Natural gas and fertilisers, the two sectors included recently in the government?s core sector index under different heads, have both reported a decline in output in April, the first month for which separate data have been captured. The two sectors were earlier being captured as part of the crude oil and petroleum products categories, respectively.
While gas production in April was 9.3% lower than the corresponding month a year ago, fertiliser output declined 1.3%. This contrasts with the healthy growth reported by these sectors in April last year ? natural gas 54.1% and fertilisers 7.8%. While the stagnation in gas production from Reliance Industries? KG-D6 block is the obvious reason for the huge fluctuation in gas output, absence of new capacity addition in fertilisers in the past year kept the output from this subsidised sector at nearly the same level.
According to sources, the eight core infrastructure sectors managed to grow by just 4.6% in April 2011 as against 8.5% in the same period last year. On a cumulative basis, natural gas production registered a growth of 9.97% during April-March 2010-11 compared to 44.59% in the same period previous year. However, fertiliser output during the period contracted 0.02% as against 12.69% growth in the previous year.
The two sectors were included in the core sector index in a bid to capture a more representative picture of the infrastructure industries and assess their weight in the overall industrial output more accurately.
The government has also changed the base year from 1993-94 to 2004-05.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has revised the series of core infrastructure in line with the new wholesale price index (WPI) series introduced last September. The new WPI series had shifted the base year from 1993-94 to 2004-05 and expanded the commodity basket from the previous 435 items to 676 items to capture the change in consumption pattern.
Earlier, the performance of the core infrastructure industries was measured on the basis of six key sectors ? crude oil, petroleum refinery, cement, electricity, finished steel and coal. With the addition of fertilisers and natural gas, the weight of the core sectors has increased to 37.9% from 26.7% in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
Coal and crude oil production grew 2.8% and 11%, respectively, in April 2011 over the year-ago period, while petroleum refinery output too grew 6.6% from 5.3%.
The growth in steel and electricity production slowed down to 4.8% and 6.8% from 12.9% and 6.9%, respectively, during the month. Cement output contracted 1.1% in April 2011 from a growth of 6.9% in April 2010.
It was in April that the growth of six infrastructure industries had slowed to 5.2% from 7.5% in the corresponding month of the previous fiscal. During 2010-11, the sectors had expanded by 5.9%, as against 5.5% in the previous year.