Govt-industry to work to­gether for R&D in steel

FICCI Business Digest - - Special Features -

Union Steel Min­is­ter Naren­dra Singh To­mar in­au­gu­rated In­dia Steel 2015, a bian­nual event or­gan­ised by FICCI in Mum­bai on April 16, 2015. This year, the event drew par­tic­i­pa­tion from 180 com­pa­nies and 20 coun­tries.

In his in­au­gu­ral ad­dress, the min­is­ter an­nounced that the gov­ern­ment and industry have agreed to work to­gether in re­search and de­vel­op­ment. An ini­tia­tive called 'Steel Re­search Tech­nol­ogy Mis­sion for In­dia' has been launched, through which R&D in the sec­tor will be in­creased. "We need re­search and work in ar­eas where we do not have the tech­nol­ogy," said the min­is­ter call­ing for a healthy ex­change of ideas amongst var­i­ous ex­perts.

The min­is­ter an­nounced that the Mines and Min­er­als De­vel­op­ment and Reg­u­la­tion (MMDR) Act had been passed by the Par­lia­ment and would pro­vide a level play­ing field for all. Through this Act, the gov­ern­ment has tried to re­duce de­lays in ob­tain­ing min­ing leases. Ap­provals can be ob­tained at the state level when pos­si­ble, and there was no need to reap­ply with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment. "Due to your con­tri­bu­tion", he told the industry barons present, "to­day In­dia is the world's third largest pro­ducer of steel. I hope you will con­tinue to ex­tend the same co­op­er­a­tion so that by 2020 In­dia ranks sec­ond in the world." He as­sured co­op­er­a­tion and sup­port from his min­istry to achieve this ob­jec­tive.

In his key­note ad­dress Rakesh Singh, Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Steel, said, "The steel industry forms the ba­sic pil­lar for any coun­try's eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment", and added that it as­sumes far greater im­por­tance for emerg­ing economies like In­dia. How­ever, he cau­tioned that glob­ally the steel industry was fac­ing tough times with slow growth and sig­nif­i­cantly ex­cess ca­pac­ity.

Singh also ex­pressed con­cern over the un­due surge of im­ports this year. Some im­ports did not con­form to the coun­try's qual­ity pa­ram­e­ters, he dis­closed. He made it clear that while wel­com­ing com­pe­ti­tion, the gov­ern­ment would not tol­er­ate dump­ing of sub-stan­dard steel.

A spe­cial ad­dress was pre­sented by Ed­win Bas­son, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, World Steel As­so­ci­a­tion (WSA), said, "In In­dia, we are hon­oured to have the largest steel pro­duc­ers as mem­bers," he de­clared, de­scrib­ing his or­gan­i­sa­tion as rep­re­sent­ing steel mak­ers around the world. The WSA works to­gether with na­tional and re­gional as­so­ci­a­tions. In­dia is in steel and the world spot­light at the mo­ment.

"With In­dia's eco­nomic growth slated to over­take that of China, the steel industry will get a new fil­lip in us­age and re­quire­ments," said S K Roongta, Chair­man, BALCO and Chair, FICCI Steel and Non Fer­rous Met­als Com­mit­tee. He lauded the industry mem­bers for their role in bring­ing the coun­try to this stage. He ap­pealed to the gov­ern­ment to con­tinue to pro­vide sup­port to the industry, es­pe­cially when it faced un­fair com­pe­ti­tion.

Ear­lier, Dr. A Di­dar Singh, Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, FICCI, wel­comed the gath­er­ing.

The in­au­gu­ral ses­sion was fol­lowed by a panel dis­cus­sion com­pris­ing CEOs of key com­pa­nies in the steel sec­tor. Some of the chal­lenges that they high­lighted in­cluded raw ma­te­rial se­cu­rity, dif­fi­culty in ob­tain­ing funds, and the need for iron ore, coal and power.

The pan­el­lists in­cluded C S Verma, Chair­man, Steel Author­ity of In­dia Ltd; Naren­dra Kothari, Chair­man-cum-Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Na­tional Min­eral De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion; T V Naren­dran, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Tata Steel Ltd; Naveen Jin­dal, Chair­man and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Jin­dal Steel and Power Ltd; Rita Singh, Chairperson and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, MESCO Steel and She­sha­giri Rao, CFO, JSW Steel Ltd.

L to R: Naveen Jin­dal, Chair­man, Jin­dal Steel and Power Lim­ited; Rita Singh, Chairperson and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, MESCO Steel; Naren­dra Kothari, Chair­man-cum-Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Na­tional Min­eral De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion; Rakesh Singh, Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Steel, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia; Naren­dra Singh To­mar, Min­is­ter for Steel and Mines, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia; C S Verma, Chair­man, Steel Author­ity of In­dia Lim­ited; T V Naren­dran, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Tata Steel Lim­ited and Seshagiri Rao, Joint MD & CFO, JSW Steel Lim­ited.

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