Steel Minister Birender Singh said on Saturday that there is great potential for increasing steel consumption in the country. Chairing a meeting of the Ministry of Steel's National Steel Consumers' Council in Mumbai, he observed that use of Swadeshi steel is the way forward not only for steel consumption but also for sustainable growth of the steel industry and economy.
Singh informed the members that the National Steel Consumer's Council has been strengthened with the induction of industry experts. The meeting was attended by steel industry stake holders like producers of MSME, integrated steel plants of private and public sector, machinery manufacturers and consumers of infrastructure , transport housing equipment sectors.
Elaborating on the need of the hour he said, "Government of India's emphasis through Make in India and support to Swadeshi production offers huge opportunity to raise the domestic steel consumption.'' He said that India's current per capita steel consumption stands only at 60 Kg, which is very less compared to the world average of 208 Kg.
He informed that the Ministry of Steel has already started a campaign to boost steel consumption in country through encouraging all concerned ministries to use only India-made steel for infrastructure and construction projects of the government. Also, he said that the campaign would help in educating people about the numerous sustainability benefits, which are guaranteed to be realized whenever steel is used.
The attributes like low waste, offsite manufacture, resource efficiency, adaptability, long lasting appeal, safety, reusability and recyclability makes steel arguably the most befitting material for construction. He further stressed that in 2016, India had emerged as the third largest steel producer in the world and Central government is taking all steps to make the country world's second largest steel producer.
During his address, Singh stated that the support extended to the steel industry by way of various trade remedial measures in recent times have led to a significant reduction in imports and stabilization of domestic market. Globally, trade protection by various governments is on the rise. Indian steel industry has to acquire the competitive edge by benchmarking with the best in the world, in order to be a global leader.
He also informed the members of the council that Ministry of Steel has for the first time gone in for crowd sourcing of ideas by inviting comments/suggestions for the National Steel Policy (NSP), 2017 from all stakeholders and the public. The Minister stressed the need to focus more on research and development so that India can develop indigenous capability to produce better and more value added steel.
He said that domestic steel makers must explore prospects of developing indigenous capability for producing Value Added Steel like CRGO steel and auto-grade steels that are imported into the country. Stressing on the need to improve the quality of domestic steel, he said the producers must match global standards in quality and then only can they compete with global markets.
Enlightening the audience about the future of Indian steel, Shri Singh said that use of low grade raw materials for production of good quality steel in the most economic way will be the future. Greater emphasis on beneficiation and alternate routes of steel production will have to be explored for being able to use low grade raw materials which are available in abundance. He said that there is need to set up scrap based steel production units, as making steel from scrap is not only cost-effective but also eco-friendly. "The country will need more steel to fuel economic development. The steel makers should be ready to meet the demand."