Make in Steel conference: Experts brainstorm to boost steel demand in India
New Delhi, Feb 21: Building entire villages made of prefabricated steel, large steel silos to store foodgrains across the country and increase in steel components in highways, flyovers, bridges, automobiles and aviation can stimulate domestic demand for the metal, according to experts from the steel industry.
The Draft Steel Policy 2017 envisages doubling the country's steel production capacity to 300 million tones and 160 kg per capita consumption by 2030, besides fresh investments of Rs 10 lakh crore of fresh investments for augmenting capacity in the sector. For meeting these requirements, the domestic demand of steel needs to be substantially enhanced.
"Currently the per capita steel consumption in India is 61.1 kg of which the rural consumption is 9.74 kg, while the global average is 208.2 kg," Mr. Sunil Barthwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Steel, said during a discussion at a ‘Make in Steel’ conference here on last Friday.
The conference, held on February 17, was organized by KATM, a leading think tank on the steel sector, with support from Union Ministry of Steel, JSW Steel, ESSAR Steel, SAIL, MESCO Steel and Arttdinox.
Mr Barthwal pointed out that China has built a 57-stotrey building in just 19 days using prefabricated steel.
"Steel has not penetrated much in the construction sector in rural areas. We are trying to develop some prototypes for houses using prefabricated structures in Chhattisgarh and some of these are of steel," he said.
Mr. Sushim Banerjee, Director General, Institute for Steel Development and Growth (INSDAG), said there is an imperative need to educate the rural masses about the good properties of steel. The Institute , along with Steel Authority of India ltd (SAIL) and MECON, is in the process of standardising design of steel intensive building and bridges.
“There is need for educating the rural masses about the good properties of steel. For rural areas, we have worked out a steel-based design to build an entire village, including houses, hospitals, community centres, schools, waste collection centres besides bridges and flyovers, all made of steel. We have submitted it to the Ministry of Rural Development and they have approved those basic designs," he added.
The use of low cost ferro cement has brought the cost of the houses down to around Rs 700 to Rs 750 per square feet, much lower that the proposed cost of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, which aims to construct low cost houses across the country over the next seven years, he said.
"We have developed the low cost design using ferro cement roofs and implemented in Burdwan, Telegaon and Agartala. We have also developed low cost steel toilets -- one each for rural and urban areas and plan to develop clusters of fabricators as well as impart training," he noted.
Such initiatives, he said, would go to improve the steel demand of the country.
Mr. Abhishek Singh, Executive Director, Food Corporation of India, cited the example of building steel silos. "We have a storage capacity of 600 lakh metric tonnes every year and we move 45 lakh metric tonnes from procuring states to consuming states," he said.
Steel silos have many advantages over conventional storage bags like longer shelf life of grains and need less manpower. These silos need just one-third of the storage land as compared to the conventional ones and also facilitate more efficient storage and movement.
"We propose to launch 100 lakh metric tonnes capacity silo storage in the next 3-4 years. It provides a huge demand opportunity for steel manufacturers in the country," he said.
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