India’s steel exports must rise
Exports should account for 6-7 per cent of India’s total steel production in the next few years, up from the 1.5 per cent at present, Birender Singh, Union Steel Minister, said on Thursday.
The steel industry, which was in trouble till recently primarily due to excess production in China, is now stabilising following measures such as minimum import price and anti-dumping duty imposed by the government.
Steel imports have come down by nearly 40 per cent. “In the last one year, we have been able to reduce steel imports by nearly 40 per cent, and have also become a net export country. In the next few years exports should be 6-7 per cent of the total production,” said Singh at a special session, organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce.
Expressing concern over the fluctuation in iron ore prices, the Minister said the government has set up a task force to come up with a report within the next 15 days.
“As a government, we cannot intervene [in the price movement], but assuage fears of consumers. The fluctuation can disturb budgeting exercise of the small steel makers,” he said.
Singh also encouraged steel producers to use more of scrap over coking coal and iron ore as raw material.
According to him, a legislation pertaining to scrapping of vehicles, older than 15 years, would provide the required amount of scrap for making steel.
“I hope this legislation will be passed in the Budget session of the Parliament. This will give sufficient scrap for making steel. Scrap-based steel will be of high quality,” he said. According to him, India’s steel sector lags behind in research and innovation technology.
A Cabinet note will be moved next week for setting up the Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI) to boost research and development in the sector.
The government has earmarked an initial corpus of ₹200 crore for the setting up of this institute.
“Research and development and innovations are the weak link. We have decided to put up SRTMI and director has already been appointed,” he said.