Government admits Indian steel industry under ‘stress’

    NEW DELHI: Admitting that steel industry in India, one of the fastest growing steel producing nations, is passing through "stress" for some time due to rising imports, the government on Wednesday assured Rajya Sabha that it will take all steps to promote and safeguard the sector.

    "The concern of the member is justified. It has come to the notice of the government that the imports from China, Japan and Korea have increased, which is creating trouble for the domestic industry and also causing losses to it.

    "The government has made efforts to check this by steps like imposing anti-dumping duty, safeguard duty on imported steel products and policy announcement on minimum import price (MIP). After these steps, the pressure on the steel industry is gradually coming down," steel minister Narendra Singh Tomar said replying to a question on the pressure being felt by the Indian steel sector and steps being take to address that.

    "Steel industry is passing through stress this time. The government is fully aware of it. Steps have been taken and steps that are required will be taken in future as well," he assured the House.

    Replying to another question whether average steel production of India was less in comparison to other developed or developing countries, the minister said India's per capita consumption of total finished steel stood at 59kg compared to the world per-capita consumption of 217kg during 2014.

    "The main reason for higher per capita consumption of steel in developed countries is due to higher level of infrastructure and industrial development, as compared to developing countries," Tomar said.

    He expressed confidence that steel consumption will pick up with the government's focus on infrastructure development.

    "There has been a total growth of 8 million tonne in steel production in last two years both by public and private companies. This is a good indication. The demand for steel will grow as the focus on infrastructure grows," he said listing a number of measures of the government.

    In his written reply, Tomar said the average growth of crude steel production in the last three years was 1.3 per cent for the world on the whole and 5.3 per cent for India.

    "The data released by the World Steel Association, which is reported on a calendar year basis, indicates that India has improved the global ranking and now become the third largest producer of crude steel in the world during 2015.

    "It indicates that India has been the third largest finished steel consumer in the world during the last," he said.

    Listing the steps taken by the government, he said the government has notified Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 to streamline grant of mining leases in order to maintain sufficient availability of raw materials for the various sectors including steel sector.

    "To provide level playing field to domestic and steel producers, Government has imposed Minimum Import Price on 173 steel products," he said.

    The ministers both public sector and private sector steel companies are expected to make rapid strikes in increasing steel production in future.

    Source: Times of India