Ministry of Steel Current Affairs

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Union Cabinet Clears New National Steel Policy

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for National Steel Policy (NSP) 2017 to give impetus to the steel sector. The policy aims to enhance domestic steel consumption and transform Indian steel industry into a technologically advanced and globally competitive steel industry. The new policy favours the domestic manufacturers.

Key features

  • Policy aims to create self-sufficiency in steel production by providing policy support and guidance to private manufacturers, MSME steel producers, CPSEs
  • Encourages adequate capacity additions and promote the development of globally competitive steel manufacturing capabilities.
  • Facilitates foreign investment and aims to enhance the domestic steel demand.
  • Promote cost-efficient production.
  • Aims to ensure the domestic availability of iron ore, coking coal & natural gas and other raw materials at competitive prices.

Salient Highlights

  • The policy envisages the achievement of crude steel capacity of 300 million tonnes (MT), production of 255 million tonnes (MT) and a robust finished steel per capita consumption of 158 Kgs by 2030 – 31. At present the current consumption is 61kgs.
  • The policy aims to meet the entire demand of high-grade automotive steel, electrical steel, special steels and alloys for strategic applications through adequate local production.
  • It aims to increase domestic availability of washed coking coal in order to reduce import dependence on coking coal from about 85% to around 65% by 2030-31.
  • All the government tenders would give preference to domestically manufactured iron and steel products. The domestic manufacturers who import raw materials or intermediate products will be able to claim the benefits of the domestic procurement provision if they add a minimum of 15% value to the product.
  • R&D in the steel sector would be carried out through the establishment of Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI).

Background

India is the third largest producer of steel globally. The steel sector is contributing to about 2% of the country’s GDP.  India had produced 100 Million Tonnes (MT) of steel in 2016-17. Though the National Steel Policy 2005 charted out a roadmap for the sustained and efficient growth of the Indian steel industry, the recent changes in the economic order calls for a new national policy.

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Current Data on India’s steel import and export

According to Joint Plant Committee’s annual report on steel sector for the time period 2016-17, India’s import of total finished steel declined 36 % to 7.4 million tonnes (MT). At the same time, steel exports increased 102% to reach 8.2 million tonnes (MT) in the said time period. The country also fared well in terms of production as well. The production of crude steel was 97.385 MT during April-March 2016-17, which is 8.5% increase over the previous year steel production.

Steel Sector

India is the third largest producer of crude steel after China and Japan. India has set an ambitious target for becoming the second largest in the near term. For this, the Steel Ministry has released new draft National Steel Policy of 2017, that envisages doubling of India’s domestic steel production capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030-31.

Joint Plant Committee

JPC was founded in 1964 by the Ministry of Steel. It formulates guidelines for production, allocation, pricing and distribution of iron and steel materials across the country. It is the only institution which is officially empowered by the Ministry of Steel to collect data on the Indian iron and steel industry in order to create and maintain a basic, complete and non-partisan databank in this industry. Its headquarters is located in Kolkata.

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Steel Ministry to set up of Steel Research & Technology Mission of India

Ministry of Steel is planning to set up Steel Research & Technology Mission of India (SRTMI) to facilitate joint collaborative research projects in the iron and steel sector in India.

The conceptualization of SRTMI was done by a high level task force set up by the Union Ministry of Steel.

Key Facts

  • SRTMI has been setup as a Registered Society wherein the Union Ministry of Steel is a facilitator. It is an industry driven institutional initiative.
  • It will be governed and administered by a Governing Body comprising the CEOs of steel companies, domain experts and a representative from Union Ministry of Steel.
  • The Director of SRTMI will carry out the executive functioning who will be assisted by appropriate supporting structure.
  • Initial corpus for setting up of SRTMI is. 200 crore rupees. Union Ministry of Steel will provide 50% of corpus and the balance will be provided by participating steel companies.

Significance

The SRTMI is likely to enhance the R&D investments in the iron and steel industry to the international levels. The R&D investment of the leading steel companies in India in terms of percentage of their turnover is very low and ranges from 0.05 to 0.5% vis-à-vis upto 1%. Some of the steel companies also have formulated R&D masterplans to increase their expenditure in R&D to 1% of their turnover to meet international levels.

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