Govt plans mega-merger of all steel R&D bod­ies

Resource Digest - - CONTENT -

The steel min­istry is plan­ning to bring a Cab­i­net note to merge all its re­search bod­ies un­der an um­brella in­sti­tute Steel Re­search & Tech­nol­ogy Mis­sion of In­dia, an of­fi­cial said.

The de­vel­op­ment comes against the back­drop of Steel Min­is­ter Chaud­hary Biren­der Singh ex­press­ing dis­plea­sure over PSUS not de­vel­op­ing ap­petite for spe­cial steel pro­duc­tion de­spite In­dia be­ing the world's third largest pro­ducer of the metal.

"A Cab­i­net note is likely soon to bring dif­fer­ent in­sti­tu­tions and or­gan­i­sa­tions for re­search and de­vel­op­ment un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tive con­trol of steel min­istry un­der a sin­gle um­brella Steel Re­search & Tech­nol­ogy Mis­sion of In­dia (SRTMI)," a steel min­istry of­fi­cial, who did not wish to be quoted, said.

SRTMI as an um­brella body will be a bril­liant ex­am­ple of 'min­i­mum gov­ern­ment & max­i­mum gov­er­nance', the of­fi­cial said.

"We may be­come the sec­ond largest steel pro­ducer but we can be­come lead­ers only if we lead in re­search for high-end and bet­ter steel & pro­cesses of steel-mak­ing...there is a need for in­no­va­tion, out-of-box-think­ing, re­search and de­vel­op­ment in the steel in­dus­try," the steel min­is­ter said.

La­ment­ing that In­dia is still de­pen­dent on im­ports for some prod­ucts, Singh said there is need to de­velop tech­nolo­gies to pro­duce elec­tri­cal grade and auto grade steel in the coun­try to be­come self suf­fi­cient and re­search is needed for it.

The spe­cialised steel will fetch bet­ter prices in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, the steel min­is­ter said, adding re­search and de­vel­op­ment in the in­dus­try is al­most neg­li­gi­ble or has been scat­tered and du­pli­ca­tion of ef­forts is a hin­drance to re­search on a large scale.

Ear­lier this month, he had said pri­vate play­ers were do­ing bet­ter than the PSUS who spent Rs 60,000 crore on ex­pan­sion and mod­erni­sa­tion their units but did not en­ter into the arena of pro­duc­ing spe­cial steel.

All ma­jor in­sti­tu­tions, pri­mar­ily re­lated to steel re­search in In­dia, may be brought un­der the am­bit of SRTMI, the min­istry of­fi­cial said, adding the over­ar­ch­ing body is tak­ing shape and a di­rec­tor to head SRTMI will be se­lected soon.

"This is go­ing to be a game-changer for In­dian Steel in­dus­try in the times to come . ... It would bring a silent rev­o­lu­tion in the sec­tor, with com­ing to­gether of all steel- re­lated stake­hold­ers on a sin­gle plat­form," he added. In­sti­tute of Steel De­vel­op­ment & Growth (INSDAG), which was pri­mar­ily meant to pro­mote steel con­sump­tion in the coun­try is pro­posed to get a boost with its as­sim­i­la­tion with SRTMI, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial.

"Be­sides in­sti­tu­tions like BPNSI, Cen­tres of Ex­cel­lence, Chairs in dif­fer­ent Uni­ver­si­ties and NISST are also pro­posed to be brought un­der the purview of SRTMI," the of­fi­cial said adding, skill de­vel­op­ment & train­ing will also be un­der the um­brella of SRTMI. This will lead to bet­ter in­dus­try-academia in­ter­face at na­tional level, and con­certed and uni­form com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion dis­sem­i­na­tion from one au­then­tic source, he said.

The Min­istry of Steel has fa­cil­i­tated an In­dus­try driven in­sti­tu­tional mech­a­nism - SRTMI - to fa­cil­i­tate joint col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search projects in the iron & steel sec­tor in In­dia.

SRTMI has been setup as a regis­tered so­ci­ety and will be

gov­erned and ad­min­is­tered by a gov­ern­ing body com­pris­ing the steel CEOS, ex­perts and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Min­istry of Steel.

The gov­ern­ment had ear­lier said the ini­tial cor­pus for set­ting up of SRTMI is Rs 200 crore of which 50 per cent is to be pro­vided by the steel min­istry and the bal­ance by the par­tic­i­pat­ing steel com­pa­nies.

"There­after, the cen­tre will run on yearly con­tri­bu­tions from the steel com­pa­nies based on their turnover of the pre­vi­ous year," it has said. The R&D in­vest­ment of the lead­ing steel com­pa­nies in In­dia in terms of per­cent­age of their turnover ranges from 0.05 to 0.5 per cent as against up to 1 per cent in lead­ing steel com­pa­nies in­ter­na­tion­ally.

SURGING STEEL DE­MAND PROMPTS SAIL TO TAR­GET HIGHER MAR­KET SHARE

Armed with lat­est tech­nolo­gies and higher prod­uct mix, SAIL aims to tap big into the steel de­mand in In­dia, which is pro­jected to be­come "the fifth- largest econ­omy" this year, its Chair­man P K Singh said on Fri­day.

Ad­dress­ing the 45th an­nual gen­eral meet­ing of the sta­te­owned Steel Au­thor­ity of In­dia Ltd (SAIL) here, Singh said the steel de­mand in In­dia will wit­ness a sig­nif­i­cant growth in fu­ture, given the cur­rent stage of de­vel­op­ment in In­dian econ­omy.

The World Steel As­so­ci­a­tion, in its short range out­look, has forecast 6.1 per cent growth in steel con­sump­tion for In­dia in 2017, the SAIL chief added.

Ac­cord­ing to Singh, the do­mes­tic steel de­mand is im­prov­ing on the back of gov­ern­ment poli­cies and de­vel­op­men­tal goals, and SAIL is ex­pe­di­tiously equip­ping it­self to serve mar­ket re­quire­ments fully and claim a broader mar­ket share. "SAIL with newer and bet­ter tech­nolo­gies at its dis­posal aims to lever­age po­ten­tial of growth in steel de­mand by op­er­at­ing at rated ca­pac­i­ties, prod­uct dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion," Singh said. The chair­man also shared the com­pany's ef­forts to­wards prod­uct value ad­di­tion.

"SAIL has done sig­nif­i­cant value ad­di­tion in its prod­uct mix, with higher grades of steel... from Rourkela Steel Plant's new plate mill for the oil and gas sec­tor, SAIL HT-600 for the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor and high strength LPG steel grade from Bokaro Steel Plant, etc," Singh said. At Bhi­lai Steel Plant (BSP), the world's long­est sin­gle piece rail of 130 me­tres is be­ing pro­duced and sup­plies of welded 260 me­tres rail pan­els to the In­dian Rail­ways are in progress. Be­sides, a 3 mtpa hot strip mill in Rourkela is slated to be in­stalled by 2018.

He fur­ther said, "World eco­nomic re­cov­ery is on track... and presents a healthy sign for in­dus­trial and man­u­fac­tur­ing ac­tiv­i­ties across globe. In­dia is pro­jected to be­come the world's fifth-largest econ­omy in 2017, sur­pass­ing UK and France and the world's third largest econ­omy by 2023, sur­pass­ing Ja­pan and Ger­many."

Such kind of growth will def­i­nitely cre­ate larger steel de­mand and boost con­sump­tion in coun­try, the chair­man added. List­ing out the achieve­ments of SAIL, Singh said the com­pany since in­cep­tion has pro­duced 475 mil­lion tonnes (mt) of crude steel and part­nered in all ma­jor na­tional projects re­quir­ing steel. The com­pany is also tak­ing ini­tia­tives to­wards re­mod­elling its op­er­a­tions.

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