New steel pol­icy likely

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new steel pol­icy is on the anvil to fa­cil­i­tate the steel in­dus­try in in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion from 81.2 mil­lion tpa cur­rently to 300 mil­lion tpa by 2025, Min­is­ter of State for Steel Vishnu Deo Sai an­nounced at the Steel Sum­mit 2014 or­gan­ised by the Con­fed­er­a­tion of In­dian In­dus­try in New Delhi re­cently. The new pol­icy is likely to fo­cus on ca­pac­ity ad­di­tion and ad­dress is­sues re­lated to raw ma­te­rial se­cu­rity, en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges and land ac­qui­si­tion.

The min­is­ter also in­formed that dis­cus­sions were un­der­way on es­tab­lish­ing an east­ern cor­ri­dor to ad­dress freight and other lo­gis­tics is­sues faced by the steel in­dus­try. There should also be a na­tional body to su­per­vise and un­der­take re­search in the steel sec­tor, he felt.

Naveen Jin­dal, Chair­man, Jin­dal Steel & Power Ltd, said that steel was still very ex­pen­sive for the common man and as a re­sult per capita con­sump­tion had been almost stag­nant. For costs to fall, out­put must in­crease. To in­crease out­put and meet the goal of 300 mil­lion tpa by 2025, gov­ern­ment support and favourable poli­cies were es­sen­tial.

Ajay Shri­ram. Pres­i­dent, CII, and Chair­man and Se­nior MD, DCM Shri­ram Ltd, pointed out that the de­mand for steel was bound to ac­cel­er­ate with In­dia build­ing much-needed in­fra­struc­ture. To de­velop a roadmap, he sug­gested cre­at­ing a joint task force with in­dus­try and min­istry as part­ners to bring in all di­verse stake­hold­ers to­gether for an ac­tion agenda for the sec­tor.

Union Steel Sec­re­tary Rakesh Singh said that the gov­ern­ment’s ef­fort to in­crease the share of man­u­fac­tur­ing in GDP from 16 per cent to 25 per cent put great re­spon­si­bil­ity on the steel sec­tor. To en­cour­age green­field units, he said that dis­cus­sions were on re­gard­ing spe­cial pur­pose ve­hi­cles in as­so­ci­a­tion with the state gov­ern­ments. Th­ese SPVs would en­sure raw ma­te­rial link­ages and clear­ances for the project, and then be auc­tioned or sold to the pri­vate sec­tor through ap­pro­pri­ate mech­a­nisms.

Ear­lier, C.S. Verma, Chair­man, CII Na­tional Com­mit­tee on Steel, and Chair­man, SAIL, out­lined the var­i­ous chal­lenges hin­der­ing the steel in­dus­try from re­al­is­ing its po­ten­tial. He high­lighted the un­avail­abil­ity of raw ma­te­ri­als, high cost of lo­gis­tics, hu­man re­source gaps and low R&D spend. He also pointed to the need to re­view FTAs, es­pe­cially for CEPA and dump­ing by China un­der the guise of al­loy steel.

Fir­dose Van­drevala, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Chair­man, Es­sar Steel, pointed out the need for In­dian steel to be at the lower end of the cost curve else it would not in­spire con­fi­dence in the in­vestor. For that, the three profit pools re­lat­ing to steel, cok­ing coal and iron ore must be in­te­grated. He also ques­tioned why steel was not be­ing given in­fra­struc­ture sta­tus while power and ho­tel en­joyed the priv­i­lege.

Aedi­tor@pro­jectsmon­i­tor.com

Im­prov­ing pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the gov­ern­ment and we are also work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with var­i­ous state gov­ern­ments. Trans­form­ing ed­u­ca­tion is a very com­plex task, given the di­ver­sity of our coun­try, com­pounded by is­sues of so­cioe­co­nomic de­pri­va­tion and other ground re­al­i­ties. Cit­i­zens should also help the gov­ern­ment. — Azim Premji, In­dian business ty­coon and phi­lan­thropist

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