Steel industry unhappy with budget
The steel industry largely expects to benefit from the government’s massive thrust on infrastructure spends, with an allocation of Rs 5.97 lakh crore proposed in the budget this year.
A slew of measures to boost domestic manufacturing, a step up in allocation for Smart Cities mission, higher expenditure on Railways infrastructure and affordable housing are also slated to drive demand for steel. However the industry which is suffering from high input costs is disappointed that its demand for a reduction in customs duty on key raw materials has not been met.
TV Narendran, MD, Tata Steel said, “Higher spending on infrastructure with a focus on airport capacity expansion and transportation especially de-bottlenecking of the railways will definitely boost steel demand as will the focus on affordable housing . We also believe that the spending on infrastructure will further help reduce the cost of doing business as it will drive greater efficiencies in logistics.” “The FM has presented a budget which is both balanced and positive. Focus on rural infrastructure, agricultural output and farmer income will help reduce the agrarian distress and boost the rural economy. Emphasis on health, education and employment generation would promote inclusive growth, he said.
“We welcome the Union Budget 2018-19 which gives special impetus to the infrastructure sector. With increased spending in infrastructure at Rs 5.97 lakh crore, the sector is being pegged as a key growth driver. Various initiatives to encourage domestic manufacturing will boost overall investment in infrastructure and in turn drive demand for domestic steel,” said Rita Singh, CMD, Mesco Steel. She welcomed the proposal of increased expenditure on smart cities, rail and road sector, affordable housing and leveraging the India infrastructure finance corporation to fund major projects. “However, as the steel industry, we were hoping for reduction in duty structure to reduce raw material cost which would in turn benefit the industry and the economy as a whole,” she added.
Subhrakant Panda, managing director, Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys (IMFA), a leading ferro alloys producer said, “The Union Budget announced by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has a strong focus on infrastructure creation including rural electrification & housing and roads. This will boost the manufacturing sector and help create demand for steel / stainless steel and other building materials. Social sector allocation towards health insurance benefitting 50 crore people will provide a much needed safety net and, along with other measures such as in education, help create a strong foundation for sustainable long term growth.”