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India must steal steel output limelight from China: Modi

India must steal steel output limelight from China: Modi
Asking the steel industry to raise production to reach the top position in the world and to ensure quality which attracts global attention, Modi said India has surpassed the United States in production, but stood behind China. “We must go to the top,” he said. The Prime Minister was addressing a huge gathering at Rourkela in Odisha after visiting the Steel Authority of India’s premises where he dedicated to the nation the RSP project and also saw the functioning of the new plate mill installed as part of a Rs 12,000 crore modernisation programme.

Under the expansion project, the steel plant’s capacity has been raised from 2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 4.5 MTPA. The Prime Minister said India has huge potential in the steel sector which is also linked to national security and defence issues. “We have huge resources and minerals, and instead of exporting raw material, we can do value addition here to sell quality products in the global market,” the Prime Minister said.

He further said that India is also focusing on manufacturing warships and the RSP and its employees have a great role to play in it. The high-quality steel manufactured here is being used in tanks used by the Indian Army, Modi said. Terming Rourkela as the town that has given India the strength of steel, he said RSP plays a key role in the nation’s defence. The Prime Minister said the world was looking at India again with optimism. He invited investors from across the world to invest in India. He emphasised, in particular, on the need to develop the eastern regions of India, including the states of Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, and Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Modi, who is the second Prime Minister to visit RSP after Jawaharlal Nehru, said there is a lot of potential that can be tapped in the iron and steel sector of the Eastern region. The Prime Minister said the Centre and states were equal stakeholders in the nation’s development. He also talked about steps taken by the Centre to strengthen states, including enhancing mineral royalty and greater devolution of financial resources. During his maiden visit to the plant as PM, Modi also announced to upgrade the Ispat General Hospital into a Super Specialty Centre and Medical College besides Rs 50 crore for “Nabakalebar” to change the wooden body of Lord Jagannath.

Talking about the key initiatives during the last one year after his election rally in Rourkela on April 4 last year, Modi said his government had enhanced royalty on minerals benefiting the mineral-rich states. Implementation of recommendations by the 14th Finance Commission has benefited Odisha tremendously as the state would receive Rs 25,000 crore in the new fiscal from it as against Rs 18,000 crore in the current fiscal, he said. The Prime Minister said he understands the pain of states and no longer there would be a tendency by the Centre to ignore states genuine demands.

On coal auction, Modi said the revenues from this would contribute greatly to the development of states. “We have shown to the world what transparent auctions could result in. The government garnered over Rs 2 lakh crore from auction of coal mines and this will not go to the Central exchequer. Instead the money will go to the coal producing states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.”
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