New Delhi, Feb 8: ‘Make in India’, a flagship programme of the Central government aimed at transforming the country into a global manufacturing hub, can provide a strong stimulus for resurgence of India’s steel industry now battling a string of formidable impediments: low domestic consumption; high costs of coking coal and iron ore; huge debts of steel companies; global overcapacity; and import of cheap and below standard steel products from countries like China.
The issue is slated to come for deliberations at a high-profile conference here on February 17, which will be inaugurated and addressed by Union Minister of Steel Shri Chaudhary Birender Singh and Steel Secretary Dr. Aruna Sharma, besides eminent industry stalwarts and experts from India and abroad.
The conference also takes place against the backdrop of various anti-dumping duties that the government has imposed to insulate the domestic steel industry against surging imports from steel-surplus countries but has roused the anger of Japan to an extent that it is threatening to take India to WTO.
Based on the Prime Minister’s vision, JSW Steel conceptualized and launched the ‘Make in Steel’ platform last year in Mumbai where industry stalwarts and India Inc Who's Who are engaged in sector-specific initiatives. The idea of the platform is to discuss domestic steel industry scenario, global steel trends and increased steel usage in infrastructure and construction projects along with exploring new avenues.
Mr. Sajjan Jindal, CMD, JSW Steel, and Mr. Prashant Ruia, Essar Group Director, are among the industry leaders attending the one-day conference at Delhi’s Le Meridien Hotel.
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’.
Experts will also discuss measures to ensure cashless transactions in steel sector in the wake of demonetization of high value currencies and the country’s push towards becoming a less-cash economy.
‘Make in Steel’ conference is being organised this year by KATM, a leading multi-commodity e-commerce platform, with support from Union Ministry of Steel, JSW Steel, a founding partner, ESSAR Steel, SAIL and NMDC. It will attract over 300 delegates from more than 15 countries, including China, Japan and South Korea.
In the Union Budget 2017-18, the government has announced a series of proposals for the growth of infrastructure, housing sector and rural development. The conference will discuss the implications of these measures for the growth of domestic steel industry.
“The latest budget will give the steel sector a huge boost. Allocation of Rs 400,000 crores on infrastructure, Rs 131,000 for railways, 133km/day rural road building, village electrification by 2018, and one crore housing by 2019 will prove a great demand booster for this sector, which will look for the implementation of these challenging targets. This will surely help the domestic manufacturing to fulfill the Make in Steel dream,” says a KATM spokesperson.
‘Make in Steel 2017’ is a significant high-level industry summit providing a robust platform for critical issue-based discussions, showcasing cutting-edge technologies for steel making, policy planning, raw material security, supply chain, logistics and environment.
India is the world’s third-largest producer of crude steel and is expected to become the second-largest producer this year 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.
As the backbone of the country’s economy, steel sector contributes around two per cent of the GDP; has a cumulative capital base of Rs. 90,000 crore; and provides direct employment to over six lakh people.
As per the recent figures published by JPC, the crude steel capacity in the country 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 FY 15-16 same period), while imports were 5.495 million tonnes (decrease of 37.4 per cent). Exports of steel products increased to 4.977 million tonnes during the period (an increase of 57.8 per cent as compared to the corresponding period in FY15-16).
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