Steel industry calls for favourable policies

At the recently concluded MMMM 2018 (Minerals, Metals, Metallurgy and Materials expo) organised by International Trade and Exhibitions India, experts from the steel industry spoke about the challenges facing the sector and on the need to address them. Here are some key excerpts:

The steel industry today is growing at a fast pace with a favourable global as well as domestic market. A few things are to be given due attention to retain the growth and achieve the seemingly daunting task of installing targeted steel production capacity of 300 million tonnes per annum by 2030, as per the National Steel Policy, 2017.

One of the things that’s holding back the steel industry is lack of access to the capital goods necessary for steel production. The required technologies are mostly imported or governed by intellectual property rights, making it difficult and expensive for the domestic industry players to access them.

“Manufacturing capital goods locally can reduce cost and time,” said Anand Sen, president, Total Quality Management and Steel Business, Tata Steel.

Sen said taxes on raw materials for steel (especially iron ore), is high in India, at about 65 per cent, compared with 28-40 per cent elsewhere in the world. So rationalisation of taxes on mining is essential for raw materials to be more value-accretive.

The other area that was emphasised was the cost of doing business. Issues regarding land acquisition, uncertain policies and undue delay in approvals (52 clearances needed to establish a steel plant), etc, are causes for concern.

Also, a significant portion of the required coking coal is imported, making cost of production expensive. The panel of experts believes that with sensible collaboration, much of this need can be met from the domestic market.

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