The country’s factory output contracted by 2.3 per cent in March, the sharpest fall in 16 years, raising fears of a sustained industrial slowdown.
But robust growth in consumer durables production shone through like a beacon of hope in an otherwise gloomy economic scenario.
The manufacturing sector, which accounts for 80 per cent of the index of industrial production (IIP), plunged by 3.3 per cent in March compared to last year’s 5.7 per cent growth, latest official data released on Tuesday showed.
Overall industrial output grew by a 2.4 per cent during 2008-09, down from last year’s 8.5 per cent.The drop in industrial production mirrors the slide in exports due to weak external demand. Exports contracted for the sixth successive month plunging by 30.1 per cent in March as policy makers grope for options to sustain growth amid the worst slowdown in the world economy in the last 80 years.
Chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Suresh Tendulkar, said the economy was picking up although recovery was bound to be slow.“Steel, cement and other sectors are reviving,” he said.