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