Domestic consumption of steel to increase in infrastructure sector: Steel Ministry
KOLKATA: The Union Steel Ministry is betting big on an increase in domestic consumption of steel led by planned investments of nearly Rs 4 lakh crore in infrastructure sector. The steel consumption increased by 3%, in 2016-17, the steel minister urged the industry to ensure that the rate of growth goes up to 4 per cent in the current year 2017-18. With huge investments planned in infrastructure sector, there is a great opportunity for increasing consumption, The Minister said the draft National Steel Policy, which is scheduled to be released soon, will give concrete shape to the vision and plans for the steel industry. For increasing consumption of steel, we have also conceptualized the idea of Indian-made steel. The proposal is to make it mandatory to use Indian-made steel in key projects. Around 75 per cent of steel products are already covered under quality norms. He also drew attention to three areas of key importance like raw material for steel making, demand generation for steel and Research & Development in steel sector. One of the major constraints that Indian steel industry faces is raw material availability and prices.
Coking coal prices have doubled. Indian steel industry is heavily dependent on imports of coking coal and this situation arises after every alternate year. We need to make conscious and concerted efforts to overcome this situation. Ministry of Steel is working with other Ministries like Coal, Petroleum & Natural Gas & Shipping on all these fronts. Coal India Limited is also in the process of acquiring coking coal assets. Controlling diversion of coking coal to thermal plants is being considered and domestic production of coking coal is being increased. The steel ministry is constantly working on expediting finalization of ‘Metal Recycling Policy’ so that steel scrap is available domestically as a raw material to steel industry. The government is also working on the feasibility of increasing steel usage in housing projects under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban.