New Delhi: The eight core industries — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity — recorded 0.5 per cent decline in August, a government data released on Monday said.

According to a PTI report, coal, crude oil, natural gas, cement, and electricity recorded negative growth of 8.6 per cent, 5.4 per cent, 3.9 per cent, 4.9 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively, in August, according to the data of the Commerce and Industry Ministry.

However, fertiliser and steel production grew by 2.9 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively during the month under review.

During April-August, growth in the eight core industries grew by 2.4 per cent from 5.7 per cent in the year-ago period.

Meanwhile, a group of secretaries on strategic disinvestment reportedly approved the sale of government’s shareholding in for public sector companies — Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Shipping Corporation of India, THDC India and NEEPCO.

This is the biggest privatisation of state-owned public sector companies to be undertaken by an Indian government since the Atal Bihari Vajpayee dispensation in early 2000. the report said.

This move is aimed at shoring up finances as the government is struggling to adhere to its fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent.