POSCO’s steel plant gets environmental clearance

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has given environmental clearance to South Korean steel manufacturer POSCO for its Rs 52,000 crore steel plant in Odisha. The company who made the largest FDI investment in India has got the clearance after a long wait of eight years to begin with the project. POSCO intends to build the steel plant with an annual production capacity of 12 million tons. The approval has been granted a week ahead of South Korean President Park Geun Hye’s visit to India.

The company has been directed by the government to spend 5% of the total investment on “enterprise social commitments”, but, at present it is not clear what that would entail.

As per MoEF, POSCO’s project comprised of two aspectsa steel plant and a port project. MoEF has delinked the two and granted approval for the steel plant. Environment clearance for the port is pending.

The POSCO-India story:

POSCO (formerly Pohang Iron and Steel Company), a multinational steel-making company headquartered in Pohang, South Korea. POSCO-India Private Limited is a planned Indian subsidiary of POSCO, an integrated steel producer with headquarters in Korea.

  • June 2005: South Korea’s Pohang Steel Co signs memorandum with Orissa Govt to set up Rs 51,000cr steel project, the biggest FDI in India.
  • Aug 2008: SC upholds “in-principle” clearance for use of forest land but directs environment ministry to probe alleged violations
  • Jan 2010: Ministry says clearance for diversion of forest land subject to implementation of Forest Rights Act
  • Aug 2010: Ministry of Environment and Forestry halts project, probes alleged violation of forest rights
  • Jan 31, 2011: Ministry of Environment and Forestry completes its probe of forest rights compliance, clears steel & power plants and captive port
  • Jun 14, 2011: Orissa government paused land acquisition at the proposed steel plant of POSCO in Dhinkia grampanchayat.
  • September 8, 2011: Orissa High Court rules that land acquisition is in public interest, allows non-private land acquisition by state government for POSCO India to proceed, orders a continued pause on the acquisition of private land till further ruling.
  • March 2012: In his Official visit to Seoul, South-Korea, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assures South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul that the POSCO project will be implemented and there was progress on it.
  • Later March 2012: The National Green Tribunal suspended the environment clearance granted to POSCO’s proposed mega steel project in Orissa.
  • January 2014: MoEF gives clearance to the steel project part of POSCO’s project. 

Trade Deficit of India with China soars to $ 31.42 bn

Screenshot_6India’s trade deficit with its largest trading partner China reached a humongous $ 31.42 billion as the bilateral trade fell by 1.5% in 2013, recording a declining trend for the second consecutive year.

Compared to 2012, India’s trade deficit surged by $ 2.5 billion in 2013, which brought into attention the failure of Indian exports to make headway into China despite repeated assurances by China to address India’s concerns.

As per the trade data from January to December 2013 released by the Chinese customs:

  • Bilateral trade between the two countries was also showing a decreasing trend for the second consecutive year.
  • Bilateral trade reached $ 65.47 billion in 2013, a slight decrease of 1.5% compared to year 2012.
  • In 2011, the bilateral trade was $ 74 billion and it slipped to $ 66.7 billion in 2012.
  • Chinese exports to India rose slightly to stand at $ 48.44 billion for the 2013, whereas Indian exports to China decreased by around 10% to $ 17 billion, causing a trade deficit of $ 31.42 billion to India.
About India-China Trade:

Trade between India and China is seen as a stabilizing factor in Sino-India relationship. In 2011, China emerged as India’s largest trading partner when the bilateral trade reached a record $ 74 billion. Both the countries have set a trade target of $100 billion to be achieved by 2015. However, many are doubtful over the possibility of this realizing this goal as there are a number of systemic impediments. Since 2011, India’s exports to China have decline by 20%. The fall in exports was largely due to curbs on the export of iron ore, which had emerged as India’s single biggest export to resource-hungry China. In response to India’s concerns on widening trade deficit, China has promised to open up its market to Indian IT and pharmaceuticals. It is hoped that Indian exports to China will improve following the MoUs inked during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visit to India to facilitate India’s exports of oil meal, pharmaceuticals, marine products and buffalo meat.