New Delhi: Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia today said that industrial growth figures for 2007-08 were within the acceptable range, even as economists opined that 3% growth in March was below expectations.
Commenting on the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) figures for 2007-08 released by the government, Ahluwalia said “there was an estimate of 8-8.5%. The lower end of the range is acceptable”.
The industrial growth during 2007-08 dipped to 8.1%, down from 10.4% recorded during the previous fiscal.
The IIP for March 2008, however dipped to 3% from 14.8% in the corresponding period last year, the lowest level in any month since February 2002 when the industrial growth recorded an increase of 2.4%.
The March numbers “are below expectations”, said Crisil Principal Economist, D K Joshi, adding “industrial growth is trending down as economic expansion moderates”.
NCAER senior fellow Shashank Bhede hoped, “there would be revival in the coming months. However, the number for the whole year is slower than the last year”.
Pointing out that high inflation rate was taking toll on industrial production, Assocham President, Venugopal N Dhoot said, “input cost for manufacturing substantially increased and higher fuel costs augmented transportation costs. The combination proved lethal for industrial production”.
The government, Dhoot said, should encourage growth of infrastructure sector as the industrial slowdown would have implications for the economic growth in the current financial year.