Govt to support steel industry reach 300 mn tonne target by 2025: Tomar

The government is committed to support steel industry to achieve the target of 300-million tonne annual production by 2025, union minister of steel and mines Narendra Singh Tomar said yesterday.

Addressing the two-day CII Steel Mart in Chandigarh, the minister said the government has taken various initiatives to increase production and consumption of steel in the country.

''Our government is fully committed to address every problem and bottleneck of the ailing steel industry and achieve the target of production of 300 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2025. To attain this target, we have set up a Steel Research & Technology Mission of India (SRTMI) along with industry to promote collaborative research programmes in steel sector so as to enhance their competitiveness, quality, R&D and production capacities. SRTMI will be steel industry's contribution to 'Make in India, Made in India' initiative'', Tomar said while addressing senior industrialists and officials at two day Steel Mart.

''To bring down costs of steel manufacturers, there is a need to bring down the interest rates, debt and transportation costs for steel industry. Proper rail connectivity of ports with raw material sites and steel plants, especially across north is highly imperative as well, to bring down the logistics costs and save time'', the minister added.

Tomar said there was an urgent need to promote steel usage, especially in rural areas, to boost its demand and help save the steel industry.

India's per capita steel usage is just 59kg compared to 700kg in China and the global average of 215kg. Both industry and government need to work together to increase this demand, he added.

In order to boost steel production, Tomar said, the government will also address the problems faced by secondary steel producers.

He said secondary steel producers are passing through a very tough phase and have some serious concerns. To address these, he said, the government has planned to meet both the small and large steel industry players in August and draw the roadmap for future by finding out common solutions.

The government has set a target capacity of 23 million tonnes for steel plants under Steel Authority of India (SAIL) against the present capacity of 13 million tonnes  by January 2016, he disclosed, adding that SAIL's MoU with Indian Railways to connect raw material sites with steel plants will also help augment production.

Besides, Tomar said, the government has planned special purpose vehicles (SPVs) with four iron ore rich states, including Karnataka, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh, to set up greenfield plants with 3 mtpa ach, initially, which would touch 6mtpa very soon, adding 24 mtpa to the national production levels, he added.

He said, modernisation of SAIL with an investment of Rs70,000 crore has been completed. ''We have planned to invest another Rs12,500,000 crore for the next phase of expansion to achieve the target of 50 mtpa from SAIL alone.

Further, SAIL has entered into an MoU with Indian Railways to provide 240k m of rail link worth Rs2,000 crore project to link Raipur with Jagdalpur, which is rich in iron ore.

Tomar said the steel industry is passing through a tough phase at present and assured full support to safeguard steel industry's interests.

Steel Mart 2015, organised by CII in Chandigarh, is aimed at creating a platform for both steel producers and consumers to interact and examine in detail the current and future dynamics of steel industry in India and to chalk out a focused action plan for aligning the interests of India's steel industry with global markets.

CII urged the government to speed up infrastructure development projects, make steel corridors on the lines of freight corridors and earmark coal blocks for steel manufacturing in India so as to reduce dependence on imports.