Infrastructure growth dipped to a worrisome 4.5 per cent in October 2007, largely due to a sharp decline in crude petroleum and refinery output, triggering concerns about possible adverse impact on the overall industrial growth.
The six core infrastructure industries, which command a combined weight of 26.7 per cent in the index of industrial production, grew at a much slower place than the corresponding month a year ago when it had recorded a near double-digit growth of 9.9 per cent. The growth rate, significantly, was lower as against the previous month. In September, it grew by 6 per cent, which was also significantly lower than the previous year's 10.6 per cent.
Crude petroleum output fell to (-) 0.1 per cent in October this year as compared with 9.3 per cent in the same period last year. Petroleum refinery production grew by a meagre 2.8 per cent as against last year's robust 18.1 per cent in the month of October.
On a cumulative basis between April to October 2007, the infrastructure sector grew by 6.2 per cent, down from last year's 8.9 per cent.
Electricity generation in October also grew at a slower rate of 4.2 per cent, compared with 9.7 per cent last year.
Coal production, however, was a silver lining in an otherwise rather gloomy scenario. Coal output grew by 9.2 per cent in October this year as compared with a meagre 1.9 per cent growth last year.
Cement production grew at a slower rate of 7 per cent this year from 9.4 per cent in October 2006, while finished (carbon) steel output grew by 4.8 per cent in October 2007, down from 10.6 per cent last year.
For April-October 2007-08, growth declined in all the sectors except electricity generation where growth remained flat at 7.1 per cent.