The output of eight core infrastructure sectors fell by 0.8% in September, contracting for the seventh straight month, government data released on Thursday revealed. This was caused primarily due to the decline in production of cement, natural gas, refinery products and crude oil.

The production of eight core sectors – coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement, and electricity – had fallen by 5.1% in September last year, the data showed. The decline in output in September was lowest since it first started falling in March.

Apart from coal, steel, and electricity, all other sectors recorded negative growth rate in September.

“The combined Index of eight core industries stood at 119.7 in September, 2020, which declined by 0.8 (provisional) percent as compared to the index of September, 2019,” the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement. “Its cumulative growth during April to September, 2020-’21 has been (-) 14.9%.”

The Centre also revised the final growth rate of eight core industries for June, saying it had contracted by 12.4%. The eight core industries comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production.

A countrywide lockdown was imposed from March 25 to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This lockdown badly affected the economy, due to closure of most industries, apart from those producing essential goods.