Domestic steel sector has been brought on track with multiple initiatives taken by the NDA government in its four years of rule, Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said.
The government’s focus on the sector also catapulted the country to the second spot in global steel output, the minister outlined.
Talking about achievements of his government in the last four years, he said, “The circumstances under which the global steel industry was passing through impacted the Indian industry too. Results of it included rise in NPAs.”
“The sector was not growing at the speed it should have been. The new government with its policies and measures gave it that force and brought it on track,” Singh told in an interview on completion of four years of the NDA government.
Of the 12 biggest non-performing assets appeared in the RBI’s first list last year, five were from the steel sector owing more than Rs 1.53 lakh crore to lenders.
“Development is something on which every government will talk. Our perspective about development is very different. For us development means with transformation. Transformation is capable of changing the system and if the system changes then things get expedited,” he said.
India’s steel sector has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate of about 5 per cent, he said. “Our country at one point of time was fourth largest steel maker and the output could not touch three digits. In 2015, we became the third largest leaving behind the US. This year we overtook Japan and became the second largest crude steel producer.”
The crude steel output crossed 100 million tonne mark. The output reached to 102.19 MT in FY2017-18 from 81 MT in FY2013-14 and the employment in sector and allied sectors increased from 20 lakh in FY2013-14 to 25 lakh in FY2017-18, he said.
To boost the capacity and consumption, the government announced the National Steel Policy that targets an annual production of 300 million tonnes, and annual per capita consumption of 160 kg by 2030, the minister pointed.
Another policy is aimed at establishing domestic capacities for steel products that are mainly imported in the country.
“We also imposed anti-dumping duties on import of certain steel items to save the domestic market. In last two years, we set minimum import price and anti-dumping duties on import of certain items. We reduced import by 40 per cent and export increased by 102 per cent,” the minister highlighted.
A number of PSUs including Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAILNSE 4.79 %) have turned profitable, the minister said.
“SAIL in third and fourth quarter (of FY18)) reported profit and next year, this is what I claim, if we continue with same momentum then we may have Rs 3,000 crore profit.”
After 10 straight quarters of losses, the country’s largest steel maker SAIL today reported a standalone net profit of Rs 43.16 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2017 and a net profit of Rs 815.57 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.
SAIL supplied huge amount of steel for major infrastructure projects including 43,000 tonne to Eastern Peripheral Expressway and 10500 tonne to Kishanganga Hydroelectric Power Project in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The minister further said his ministry is taking concrete steps to ensure that steel used in India is environment-friendly.
The ministry brought more than 80 per cent of products under the quality control order which prohibits production and import of substandard steel items, he said.
The ministry has always taken steps to address the issues in the sector and will keep on doing so, the minister stressed.