Production in the country's eight core sectors contracted 23.4 per cent in May, due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown, government data showed on Tuesday. However, the contraction eased from a record 38.1 per cent in the previous month. The data on eight sectors - coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity - comes as the country entered the second phase of easing of restrictions imposed in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has pushed an already-slowing economy into a standstill.
Production contracted 30.0 per cent in the first two months of current financial year.
The sectors of coal, cement, steel, natural gas, refinery and crude oil "experienced substantial loss of production" due to the nationwide lockdown in April and May, the Office of Economic Adviser under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade said in a statement.
In May 2019, growth in the output of the eight sectors had stood at 3.8 per cent.
The government also revised growth in core sector output in February to a final 6.4 per cent, from a provisional 5.5 per cent.
Production in the core sectors accounts for 40.27 per cent of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which is a key gauge of factory activity in the country.
This month, the National Statistical Office (NSO) suspended the release of data on industrial production - or factory output - for the month of April "in view of the continued limited transactions of products in the market" during the lockdown and problems in collecting of adequate data.