India’s industrial output declined by 0.1% in March, showing a slowdown for the first time in 21 months, according to official data released on Friday.

The industrial output growth in February was 0.1% and 1.7% in January.

The data showed that manufacturing, which accounts for 78% weightage in the Index of Industrial Production, declined 0.4% in March, while mining and electricity grew 0.8% and 2.2%.

The cumulative growth for the period April 2018 to March 2019 stood at 3.6%, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said. The cumulative growth was down from 4.4% during the previous financial year and the lowest in three years.

Twelve out of 23 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown negative growth in March as compared to the corresponding month in the previous year. “The industry group ‘manufacture of furniture’ has shown the highest negative growth of (-)24.6%, followed by (-)18.5% in ‘manufacture of other transport equipment’ and (-)15.3% in ‘manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment’,” the statement said.

The statistics ministry said the industry group ‘manufacture of tobacco products’ grew the most at 13.5% followed by 10.6% growth in ‘manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products’.

Among the six use-based classification groups, the output of primary goods, which has the highest weightage of 34.04%, grew by 2.5%. The output of capital goods declined by 8.7% and intermediate goods fell by 2.5%.

The Ministry of Finance, in its “Monthly Economic Report” for March, released earlier this month, had attributed the slowdown in economic activity in 2018-19 to declining growth in private consumption, slow increase in fixed investment and muted exports, Mint reported.