Bengaluru, July 7:
Union Minister of Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday said Indian steel production reached the third highest position in the first five months of 2015.
The minister also said that the steel industry grew at more than eight percent during 2014-15.
“So far, India was the fourth largest steel producer in the world only after China, Japan and the US. However, during the first five months of this calendar year, India has achieved the third position in the global steel production,” said Tomar at a meeting here of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to his ministry.
“India envisages to achieve a steel production of 300 million tonnes by 2025 and the steel ministry is working out an action plan and strategies to achieve this target,” said Tomar.
He said the older steel plants are being modernised and expanded and highlighted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently opened India’s largest blast furnace with a capacity of 4,160 cubic metres at IISCO steel plant in Burnpur, West Bengal.
To sustain the long-term growth of the Indian steel industry, “problems in raw material area need to be addressed to utilize low grade ore and high ash coal through research and development (R&D) and technology interventions,” Tomar said.
He said Indian steel industry’s R&D should focus on producing value added products to lessen imports.
“We have also issued an advisory to all the large steel companies to step up R&D and enhance R&D investment up to one percent of their sales turnover. SAIL has corporate R&D centre at Ranchi. RINL is also expending R&D infrastructure. Large private sector companies have also setup good R&D facilities for addressing their problems,” said Tomar.
To give an impetus to R&D of national importance, the Ministry of Steel is contributing up to 50 percent of the corpus required for setting up the new institution SRTMI.
Major private steel companies have also signed a memorandum of understanding with the steel ministry for SRTMI and will financially contribute the initial corpus of Rs.200 crore.
Tomar highlighted that India is a low steel consuming country at just 60 kg per capita compared to the world average of 216 kg.
“The low consumption no doubt indicates huge growth potential for the Indian steel industry,” added Tomar. (IANS)