Output of the six core infrastructure industries grew by a healthy 6.6 per cent in December, 2010, an indicator that the Indian economy is on a firm wicket.

The six core sectors —— crude oil, petroleum refinery products, coal, electricity, cement and finished steel —— had expanded by 6.2 per cent in December, 2009.

The 6.6 per cent growth charted in December, 2010, is significantly higher than the 3 per cent expansion recorded in the previous month (November, 2010) and will definitely lift the index of industrial production (IIP) numbers for December.

Industrial output, as measured by the IIP, had sunk to an 18—month low of 2.7 per cent in November, 2010.

These core industries account for 26.68 per cent of the country’s total industrial output.

Petroleum refinery output grew by 8.3 per cent, while production of coal registered 3 per cent growth in December, 2010, data released by the Industry Ministry today revealed.

However, growth in cement production slowed to 2.2 per cent in December, 2010, compared to 11 per cent expansion in December, 2009.

Finished steel production grew by 11.2 per cent in December, 2010, from 9.6 per cent in the comparable period a year ago.

In addition, crude oil production witnessed a significant jump during the last month of the 2010 calendar year, rising by 15.8 per cent. In comparison, crude output rose by just 1.1 per cent in December, 2009.

During the first nine months of the current fiscal, the six core industries registered average growth of 5.3 per cent, compared to 4.7 per cent expansion in April—December, 2009.

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