Millennium Post

Govt may review National Steel Policy due to cheap import flood

The government has proposed to revisit the existing National Steel Policy, the work on which is at “conceptual stage”, Parliament was informed on Monday amid the sector reeling under global glut and surge in import prices.

“The Government proposes to revisit the existing National Steel Policy. It is at conceptual stage,” Minister of State for Steel Vishnu Deo Sai said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

Last month, the government’s think tank Niti Aayog had floated a working paper where it had mooted a new and dynamic steel policy to bring the over USD 100 billion industry back on track as well as meet the target of 300 million tonnes (MT) capacity by 2025.

The country’s premier policy maker feels that mere changes in the National Steel Policy, 2012, will not help the sector that in the last few years has been flooded with cheap imports from China, Korea and Japan impacting its sales and profits, which has negatively influenced its capacity to repay debts.

Niti Aayog feels that there is a need to examine the entire value chain associated with the industry -- from raw materials to production of finished products -- to discover the bottlenecks in the sector.

The Working Paper -- prepared by Niti Aayog Member V K Saraswat and Niti Aayog professional Ripunjaya Bansal -- said that an ecosystem has to be created that will ensure profitability of the associated industry be it mining, pet coke, pellet or sponge iron.

Another pertinent issue that needs to be ensured that none of these make windfall gains at the expense of others, it added.

Sai said the global glut and surge in import prices of steel have adversely affected the domestic steel industry.

“It has resulted in erosion of profits of domestic steel companies and has resulted in Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of domestic steel companies,” the minister added.

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