India’s retail inflation for March was 5.52%, up from 5.03% in February, data released by the Centre on Monday showed. Retail inflation is based on Consumer Price Index.

Food price inflation in India rose to 4.94% in March, up from 3.87% in February. Inflation in the “fuel and light” section stood at 4.50%, as against 3.53% in February.

On the other hand, the country’s industrial output, measured as the Index of Industrial Production, contracted 3.6% in February. India’s Index of Industrial Production had grown 5.2% in the same month last year.

The output in the mining and manufacturing sectors reduced by 5.5% and 3.7% in February, respectively. In the same month, power generation grew 0.1%.

The contraction in industrial production came amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country. India reported 1,68,912 new cases on Monday, in yet another record rise in infections. The country’s overall tally of infections since the pandemic broke out last March rose to 1,35,27,717. With this, India now has the second-highest number of infections globally, just behind the United States.

India Ratings and Research said the upward trend seen in industrial output in September and October was because of festive demand, PTI reported. The credit reporting agency added that India was still far from making a sustained economic recovery.

“Growth pattern of primary and intermediate goods, two leading indicators of industrial production are pointing towards a lackluster industrial performance in short- to medium-run,” the agency said, according to PTI. “This also means government and RBI [Reserve Bank of India] will have to continue to support the demand.”