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Need to increase production of value-added steel in India to reduce import: Kulaste

Faggan Singh Kulaste has urged the industry to focus on increasing the production of value-added steel within the country in order to reduce import dependence on it  

Faggan Singh Kulaste has urged the industry to focus on increasing the production of value-added steel within the country in order to reduce import dependence on it.
  • The minister said that with better demand prospects and mega expansion plans in the pipeline, there is a need to focus on alloy and special steels as it guarantees better premium

  • Kulaste also urged the industry to look at the overall life cycle cost of value-added steel products

New Delhi: Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Steel, has urged the industry to focus on increasing the production of value-added steel within the country in order to reduce import dependence on it. “Though India is the second largest steel producer in the world but dependence on special steel imports is still high in the country,” he said while addressing a webinar on ‘Manufacturing Value Added Steel – Contribution Towards Vocal for Local & Atmanirbhar Bharat’, organized by FICCI, jointly with SRTMI, on Thursday. 

Kulaste said, “While large varieties of value added steel products are now being produced indigenously, the country is still dependent on import of several high performance and value added products like electrical steel, automotive grade steel and steels for specialised use in defence, space and nuclear applications.” 

Better demand prospects, mega expansion plans in pipeline: Kulaste

The minister added that with better demand prospects and mega expansion plans in the pipeline, there is a need to focus on alloy and special steels as it guarantees better premium to both steel makers and consumers. “If required, necessary efforts can be made to collaborate with foreign players for technical and strategic cooperation for this purpose,” he noted. He stated that import volume for value added steel products might be low in the overall steel import basket of the country but in terms of value it is significantly high.

Also read: Jindal Stainless reports a loss of Rs 87 crore in Q1 FY2020-21

Kulaste also urged the industry to look at the overall life cycle cost of value-added steel products, involving all stakeholders, to have higher usage intensity of such products. “We should focus on value along with volumes. In order to produce the special grade steel, the industry should focus on increasing R&D, form JVs to set up plants in the country to meet domestic demand and exports,” he said. 

Kulaste stated that the government is committed to take measures to ensure development of all such special steel and alloys to minimise import dependence. “We would also work under the umbrella of the clarion call given by the Prime Minister for Vocal for Local and Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” he added. 

‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat stresses upon value addition’

Emphasizing on the role of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Kulaste said that it has stressed upon ‘value addition’ for raw material and producing finished goods to shift our vision from raw material export to finished goods export. “This would help in strengthening the domestic steel industry in manufacturing different grades of value-added steel. We are working to remove the impediments, like raw material availability for units producing value-added steel,” he said. 

Dr Mukesh Kumar, Director, SRTMI (under the aegis of Ministry of Steel) said that there is an urgent need to look at all value-added steel products coming into the country and substitute them with domestic production to become a self-reliant nation. 

Industry-speak

AK Chaudhary, Chair, FICCI Steel Committee and Chairman, SAIL, said that medium and high carbon steel, despite being manufactured in the country, is not able to take care of all the steel requirements of the nation. He urged the government to further incentivise the value-added steel manufacturers in the country. 

VR Sharma, co-chair, FICCI Steel Committee and MD, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd said that we need to reduce the cost of grade steels in the country. He also urged the industry to work on increasing the production each year by 10 percent to meet the growing demand. 

Sanjay Jayram, Senior Member, FICCI Steel Committee and EVP, JSW Steel Ltd said that India has tremendous potential and capabilities to increase consumption of steel. We need to have a collaborative approach in increasing the production of value-added steel, he added. 

Abhuday Jindal, Co-Chair, FICCI Steel Committee and MD, Jindal Stainless Ltd emphasised on the need for more joint efforts between the industry and the government to achieve the potential in the sector.

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