Millennium Post

Infrastructure growth soars to 7-month high of 6.7% in June

New Delhi: The growth of eight core sectors in India expanded to 7-month high of 6.7 per cent in June due to better performance by cement, refinery and coal segments, as per official data released on Tuesday. The eight sectors, which also include fertilisers, steel, natural gas, electricity and crude oil, had expanded by 1 per cent in June last year.

The previous high rate of growth was recorded in November 2017 at 6.9 per cent. The growth rate in May was 4.3 per cent. As per the data released by the commerce and industry ministry, the expansion in cement, refinery products and coal was 13.2 per cent, 12 per cent and 11.5 per cent respectively, year-on-year basis.

Crude oil and natural gas registered a negative growth of 3.4 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively in June compared to the year-ago period. The expansion in the electricity generation was 4 per cent in June compared to 2.2 per cent in the same month of the last fiscal. Steel sector, however witnessed a slower growth of 4.4 per cent compared to 6 per cent in June 2017. The data revealed that expansion rate in the fertiliser segment was 1 per cent, better than negative growth recorded in the year ago month.

During the April-June quarter of the current fiscal, the eight core industries recorded a growth of 5.2 per cent as against 2.5 per cent in the same period last year. These eight core industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

Meanwhile, the government's finances have shown improvement in the June quarter of 2018-19 with fiscal deficit working out to 68.7 per cent of the Budget Estimate, mainly on account of higher revenue collection, official data reveal. The deficit was at 80.8 per cent of BE in the April-June quarter of last fiscal. In actual terms, the fiscal deficit or gap between the total expenditure and receipts was Rs 4.29 lakh crore. The government had budgeted to cut fiscal deficit to 3.3 per cent of GDP in the current fiscal, from 3.53 per cent in 2017-18.

The fiscal deficit target for the current financial year is Rs 6.24 lakh crore. As per the data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), the tax collection at end-June was Rs 2.37 lakh crore or 16 per cent of the BE. The total receipts of the government were Rs 2.78 lakh crore during April-June quarter or 15.3 per cent of the BE. In the similar period of 2017-18, the collection was 13.1 per cent of the BE.

The CGA data showed that total expenditure during the first three months of the fiscal was Rs 7.07 lakh crore or 29 per cent of the BE. The expenditure was marginally higher as a percentage of BE in the last fiscal. The capital expenditure was Rs 86,988 crore or 29 per cent of the BE, the CGA said.

Meanwhile, the Goa government-run Investment Promotion Board (IPB) has withdrawn the in-principle nod it had granted to 26 projects on different grounds in the last four years, the state Legislative Assembly was told on Tuesday. A question regarding status of the industrial projects in the coastal state was raised by Congress legislator Nilkant Halarnkar. In his reply, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said the IPB had given in-principle approval to 169 projects, including new projects and those seeking expansion, since its inception (in 2014). These projects entailed total investment of Rs 12,400 crore and had the employment potential of 27,715, he said.

"Of 169 projects, the IPB has withdrawn permission granted to 26 projects," he said, adding that 71 of the 169 projects were new ones. Of the 26 projects which stood withdrawn, 14 projects were found to be in contravention of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms while in case of 12 projects, the firms did not show any interest in setting up the units, Parrikar said.

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