The output of India’s eight core sectors grew by 11.6% in August, government data showed on Thursday. The output had risen by 9.9% in July and had contracted by 6.9% in August last year.

Among the eight sectors, cement production saw the sharpest year-on-year rise, increasing by 36.3%.

Coal and natural gas registered a 20.6% surge. Electricity and refinery products grew by 15.3% and 9.1%, respectively while steel output grew by 5.1%, the data showed.

Production in all the sectors, except refinery products and crude oil, were above the levels recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, Aditi Nayar, chief economist at ratings agency ICRA said, according to PTI.

“The lull in rains supported the growth in coal, cement and electricity, while higher mobility propped up growth in petroleum refinery products,” she added.

Meanwhile, chief of Care Ratings said that the uptick in steel and cement production can be attributed to higher government spending and construction activity.

A separate data released by the government showed that its fiscal deficit at the end of August stood at Rs 4.68 lakh crore or 31.1% of the estimate stated in the Union Budget, PTI reported.

Fiscal deficit of a government is the gap between its expenditure and revenues.

For the current financial year, the government has projected that the deficit will come at 6.8% of Gross Domestic Product or Rs 15,06,812 crore in absolute terms.