Millennium Post

Minister sees India as auto hub, bats for high-end steel

India should produce more automotive high-end steel as the country is likely to manufacture 27 per cent of total cars in the world in days to come, Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh has said.

"In times to come, it is expected that India would be the hub for manufacturing of motor cars... and there is an estimate that India alone would be manufacturing 27 per cent of the total cars in the world," the minister said.

"We want that this kind of steel, that is automotive high end, should be produced in our country so that we can save our foreign currency to a great extent," he said.

He also pitched for export of high-end steel to the world market, saying factors like competitive efficiency play a key role in its manufacturing.

Noting that the efficiency level in both private and public sectors in India is below international standards, the minister underscored the need for higher efficiency.

The higher efficiency can be achieved by changing the old machinery at steel plants "which we have already done with regard to PSUs, especially state-owned SAIL". The last phase of modernisation and expansion of SAIL is expected to be completed by December this year. "We have spent about Rs 62,000 crore in the last 8-10 years on expansion and modernisation," he said.

Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has embarked on modernisation and expansion of its integrated steel plants in Bhilai, Bokaro, Rourkela, Durgapur and Burnpur and the special steel plant in Salem.

In the ongoing drive, the crude steel capacity is being enhanced to 21.4 mtpa, from 12.8 mtpa. The country's largest steel maker had earlier said it reached the last leg of its modernisation programme, but expressed concern over weak demand for domestic steel.
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