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23 Oct 2021, 07:06 HRS IST
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  • Steps on to achieve 300 MT steel output: Steel minister

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17:24 HRS IST

New Delhi, Jun 29 (PTI) After bringing in two policies to boost the domestic steel sector, a slew of steps are on to achieve the target of 300 million tonnes (MT) of output, Steel Minister Choudhary Birender Singh said today.

Urging steel producers to come forward to achieve the ambitious target, the minister also said he has asked Coal India to ensure sufficient supply of the fuel.

The Cabinet, in May, approved two policies, including the National Steel Policy 2017 that envisages Rs 10 lakh crore investment to take capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030-31, to give a boost to the domestic steel sector.

The country's steel output is about 100 million tonnes at present.

"National Steel Policy 2005 fell short of expectations to meet the developments in the Indian steel sector. The National Steel Policy 2017 comes with an aim to make India self sufficient ... to meet demand for high grade steel, electrical steel, special steel and alloys, an area where support from all steel producers is crucial," Singh said.

Addressing a workshop on National Steel Policy 2017 and policy for providing preference to domestically manufactured iron and steel products (DMI&SP) in government procurement, he said, "value addition, research and development, raw material security are some of important points in our steel policy".

With this vision, "We had meeting with Coal Ministry to take quick decisions pertaining to thrust areas. Coal India Ltd and Bharat Coking Coal Ltd have agreed to set up 12 new coking coal washeries by 2019-20.

"For this I have asked that they should give a road-map as to how many would be in place for function... Not all should take three years to be functional."

Singh said Coal India Ltd is also working on acquiring coking coal assets, increasing domestic production and minimising diversion of coking coal to thermal plants.

He expressed hope that coking coal imports will be reduced by 20-25 per cent due to these measures.

The government's focus is also on reducing dependence on imports for raw materials required for steel making and reduce the input cost.

Coal, a key material used in producing steel, was put in the lowest tax bracket of 5 per cent under the new GST regime.

To boost domestic steel consumption, the government in May also approved a policy providing preference to domestic iron and steel products in government procurement.

The minister said that a standing committee for DMI&SP chaired by the steel secretary will address issues faced by manufacturers.

"In the last meeting itself there were about a dozen queries" from Indian Railways, ONCG, Indian Pipe Manufacturers Association (IPMA) and Seamless Tubes Manufacturers' Association of India (STMAI) etc that have been addressed, he said.

Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma said any project of worth Rs 50 crore will come under the DMI&SP policy.

DMI&SP policy provides a minimum value addition of 15 per cent in notified steel products which are covered under preferential procurement.

In order to provide flexibility, the Ministry of Steel may review specified steel products and the minimum value addition criterion.

Asserting that quality would be ensured in steel products, Singh said, "Thirty-three steel products have already been certified under mandatory quality certification BIS. 75 per cent of the total steel products are now covered under BIS regime".

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