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IIP numbers not encouraging, says Pranab

New Delhi: Terming the slowdown in May industrial output as "not encouraging", finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said the government was in the process of taking steps to enhance the productivity of the manufacturing sector.

"It (the Index of Industrial Production) is not encouraging…," he told reporters at a meet organised by Nabard here.

Mukherjee, however, said the monthly figures should not be seen as a trend-setter.

"I do not always take into account the monthly and weekly figures as the real trend-setter. At least quarterly figures will have to be taken into account. Otherwise, there are problems, of course," he said.

The finance minister`s comment came after the release of data which showed factory output, as measured by the IIP, dropping to 5.6 per cent in May from 8.5 per cent in the same month last year. The slowdown in industrial growth is mainly due to the poor performance of the manufacturing and mining sectors.

The IIP numbers for April have also been revised downward to 5.7 per cent from the earlier estimate of 6.3 per cent, as per the new series with a base year of 2004-05.

Mukherjee said the government was in talks with various stakeholders so that the contribution of the manufacturing sector could be increased in the country`s overall GDP.

"We are having discussion with various people, chambers of commerce and others and we are working out how to improve the manufacturing sector," he said.

The government aims to increase the contribution of manufacturing to the GDP to 25 per cent in coming years from about 16 per cent at present.

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