March Infrastructure Output: The output of core sectors grew by 6.8 per centInfrastructure Output in March 2021: The output of eight core infrastructure sectors grew 6.8 per cent, compared to last year, according to government data on Friday, April 30. The infrastructure output, which comprises eight core sectors including coal, crude oil, electricity, etc recorded a de-growth of seven per cent during April-March 2020-2021. According to provisional data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the combined index of the eight core industries stood at 143.1 in March 2021. (Also Read: Infrastructure Output Of Core Sectors Slips 4.6% In February 2021 )The eight core industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the industrial output or the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The growth in the infrastructure output was led by the cement sector, followed by the steel and electricity sectors. The natural gas sector also registered an increase in output during March 2021.According to the Commerce Ministry data, the production of cement, steel, electricity, and natural gas sectors increased by 32.5 per cent, 23 per cent, 21.6 per cent, and 12.3 per cent, respectively. On the other hand, the output of coal, crude oil, refinery products, and fertilisers sectors registered a de-growth of 21.9 per cent, 3.1 per cent, 0.7 per cent, and five per cent, respectively. The 6.8 per cent growth of infrastructure output in March 2021 is at a ’32 month high’ and is due to the base effect, according Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist, ICRA Limited.”The low base of the lockdown-hit April 2020 would push up the year-on-year expansion of the index of eight core industries to a sharp 50-70 per cent in April 2021, with exceptionally high growth expected in cement and steel,” said Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist, ICRA Limited.”Based on the available data, we project the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) to record a sharp growth of 17.5-25 per cent in March 2021,” added Ms Nayar.