‘Make in Steel’ Conference: Steel industry pins revival hopes on budget proposals for infrastructure growth

 Steel Minister, Steel Secretary, industry leaders to address Feb 17 conference in Delhi; 300 delegates from 15 countries to attend 


New Delhi, Feb 14: Spurred by a raft of budgetary proposals for infrastructure growth, India’s steel community and top policy makers will deliberate at a high-profile conference here on measures to trigger a sustained phase of buoyancy for the sector through significant increase in domestic consumption of steel and counter import surge from countries like China.

At the February 17 ‘Make in Steel’ conference, steel manufacturers will also unplug their concerns affecting the industry like global steel glut, volatility in prices, eroded profit margins,high import costs of coking coal and nickel and huge imports of cheap products from countries like China, Japan and South Korea.

Union Minister of Steel Chaudhary Birender Singh and Steel Secretary Dr. Aruna Sharma, besides industry stalwarts and experts from India and abroad, will address the day-long conference, being organized at Le Méridien hotel by KATM, a leading multi-commodity e-commerce platform, with support from Union Ministry of Steel, JSW Steel, ESSAR Steel, SAIL and NMDC. It will attract over 300 delegates from more than 15 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea and Iran. 

Indian steel makers attending the conference would also pitch for more anti-dumping duties from the government to safeguard their interests by curbing cheaper imports from the steel-surplus countries.

India is expected to overtake Japan this year to become the second-largest producer of crude steel behind China. But the country’s per capita consumption of finished steel is only 62 kg as compared to South Korea’s 1113 kg and China’s 488 kg while the global average is 208 kg.

But this figure could rise significantly if steel makers are able to leverage the huge allocations in the Union Budget 2017-18 for infrastructure, housing sector and rural growth.

Allocation of Rs 396,000 crore for infrastructure, including Rs 1.31 lakh crores for railways andRs 64,900 crore for highways, infrastructure status for the housing sector133 km/day rural road building, village electrification by 2018, and one crore houses for the homeless by 2019 can  provide a booster dose to steel sector and increase per capita consumption.

Also, over 50 per cent of India’s steel production is in the Medium, Small & Micro Enterprise (MSME) sector. The new budget’s proposal to reduce the corporate tax from 30% to 25% for MSME units with an annual turnover of less than Rs 50 crore will help steel makers in a big way.

Mr. Sajjan Jindal, CMD, JSW Steel; Mr. Prashant Ruia, Essar Group Director; Mr. P K Singh, CMD, SAIL; and Mrs. Rita Singh, CMD, MESCO Steel, are among the industry leaders attending the conference. 

Around 25 steel experts will participate in the brainstorming sessions on issues like Demand Generation in ‘Infrastructure’, ‘Transportation’, ‘Transit System’, ‘Automobiles’, ‘Rural’ and ‘Consumer Durables and General Engineering’, besides ‘Wealth from Waste: Scrap Recycling’.

India’s crude steel capacity stood at 121.97 million tonnes in 2015-16. During FY 2016-17 (till Dec 2016), crude steel production was 72.166 million tonnes (8.5 per cent increase as compared to the same period in FY 15-16), while imports were 5.495 million tonnes (decrease of 37.4 per cent). Exports of steel products increased to 4.977 million tones, an increase of 57.8 per cent.  

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