India, the world's third largest steel producer, plans to ramp up production to 300 million tonnes by the year 2025, a more than three-fold rise in less than a decade.
The Narendra Modi government is working on localised planning for production of iron ore and other minerals, somewhat similar to China's small capacity that mushroomed all over the country during the Long March era.
The government has also embarked on a transparent policy of auctioning iron mines while District Mineral Foundations ( DMF ) are being set up in every mineral-rich district to provide benefits to local populace, minister of state for steel and mines Vishnudeo Sai said in Nagpur on Sunday.
Sai was addressing the media during a visit to the head office of Manganese Ore India Limited (MOIL) in Nagpur on the sidelines of the inauguration of a new ore dressing laboratory of Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) at MIDC.
The Modi government has been protective of domestic steel industry and has taken several measures, including fixing minimum import price for various steel products to check low-cost imports and dumping, Sai said.
Towards this, the minister pointed out that the government has auctioned six iron ore mines located in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and other places, recently. Four of these are in Chhattisgarh, he added.
He said the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 has been reviewed and many reforms carried out.
At present India, with production of 89.4 million tonnes in 2015, is placed third in global steel production while China remains the leader with an output of 803.8 million tonnes last year, according to World Steel Association (WSA).
Sai said there were 60,000 applications - from licence to lease renewals - pending before his ministry when the new government took over, adding that the newly drafted National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP) aims to facilitate large scale private sector investments in exploration.
The minister said the DMF would provide funds for creating social infrastructure like schools, hospitals and development benefits, and thus help local development.