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Steel industry must work towards ‘zero-import’: Pradhan

Union Minister for Steel Dharmendra Pradhan urged the steel industry to strengthen itself enough to take care of domestic demand
New Delhi: Emphasising on the Ministry of Steel’s role as a bridge between the steel industry, Railways and Defence sectors, Union Minister for Steel Dharmendra Pradhan urged the steel industry to strengthen itself enough to take care of domestic demand. He called for a strategic paper highlighting the specific long term requirement of these sectors to form an action plan with the steel industry for domestic fulfilment of the requirement. Addressing a workshop on Monday, Pradhan said that apart from having strategic implication, there are immense economic and social implications of enhanced steel usage across Railways and defence sectors. He said this will also help in the creation of jobs. The workshop was titled ‘Indian Steel: Fostering Steel Usage in Railways & Defence Sectors,’ and was organised by the Ministry of Steel in association with CII. The key objective of the workshop was to have an in-depth discussion with the Railways and Defence sector to identify gaps and opportunities available in the supply of Steel and Steel Products.

Pradhan urges steel industry to ensure zero imports

Speaking about reducing imports, Pradhan emphasised on zero imports in railways and defence sector and further encouraged the domestic industry to produce special steel, as per the industry requirements, to support indigenisation. The minister stressed upon the need to develop an ecosystem for start-ups that will support the production of special steel and urged investors and the industry to come together in the nation’s interest. The minister mentioned that Japan and Korea, which earlier used to import raw materials and then produce value-added steel to export, are experiencing rising costs of production. “Hence, it is opportune time for the Indian industry and the ministry to create an action plan for the production of value-added steel for the fulfilment of domestic demand and international demand, going forward,” he added.

‘Every work we undertake must be towards building New India’

Pradhan also stressed on the importance of Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMS) in identifying imports for the end-use sector and reiterated that this data will enable the domestic steel industry in creating an action plan to manufacture specific steel domestically. He said, “Our government has launched a mission named ‘Har Kaam Desh Ke Naam.’ Every work we undertake must be towards building a stronger and more prosperous New India.” Pradhan also released the “Safety Guidelines for Iron & Steel Sectors” on the occasion to ensure a zero-accident workspace for the steel sector.

Railways, OFB sign MoU with SAIL

The workshop also witnessed the signing of an MoU between Indian Railways and SAIL for domestic fulfilment of forged axels and wheels. Senior officials of the Railway Board and the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. emphasised on the importance of steel for the Railways sector. In the previous year, Indian Railways consumed 7 MT of steel and witnessed a 17 percent increase as compared to the previous year. Indian Railways plans of decongestion through multi-tracking, high-speed projects and concentrated focus on 58 supercritical projects are expected to increase the demand at a higher pace. In addition, Dedicated Freight Corridor projects are expected to consume 17 MT of steel in the next five years. The Indian Army, Navy and Air Force along with DRDO and the Ordinance Factory, expressed the great potential for domestic fulfilment of special steel alloy requirements in the defence sector and welcomed the ministry’s efforts to act as a bridge between the buyer and the supplier. However, special emphasis was laid down on the quality requirements of the special steel alloys required for the defence sector. The defence sector also emphasised on the need for concentration on value, instead of volume, and reiterated the importance of research in metallurgy and increased utilisation of rare earth metals for the sector. An MoU was also signed between Ordnance Factories and SAIL to facilitate domestic fulfilment of steel requirement.