The Steel Ministry would ensure that raw material demands of steel manufacturers, especially secondary steel producers, are met when the mining leases expire in 2020, said Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel while interacting with members of CII today. The Steel Ministry is working with Ministry of Mines for least disruption in the process and is developing a roadmap for auction of mines, he highlighted. Mining leases for coal and iron ore are slated to expire as of March 2020.
The Minister added that the Ministry is also exploring ways to build in clearances along with the leases so that the new lease holders need not go for clearances again.
Further, the Minister said that MoPNG is working on a plan for Coal Gasification. He suggested that on the imports of Coking Coal, the industry should explore more options at competitive rates as India is short of this critical resource for the steel sector and imports around 80% of the total requirement.
On the supply of natural gas for the steel industry, the Minister informed the industry that a proposal for Eastern Gas Grid has already been moved which will cover all the steel industries in eastern corridor.
Regarding steel consumption, the Minister suggested that a more comprehensive methodology to arrive at the actual consumption figure should be worked out.
Mr Seshagiri Rao, Chairman, CII National Committee on Steel and Joint Managing Director, JSW Steel Ltd said that raw material security and demand slow down are the main challenges being faced by the industry today. Apart from this, the imbalance in FTAs is also hurting the industry as there is an import surge from partner countries in recent years and currently, around 65% of steel imports are sourced from these countries. He urged Government to help the steel industry with a level playing field.
Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII said that the Indian steel industry is competitive at global level despite significant cost of funds, logistics, raw material etc. He highlighted that India should work on reducing the import dependence on steel making equipment and spares as this is a big opportunity for India to indigenise equipment under the Make in India initiative.
The industry thanked the Minister for announcing the long-awaited Steel Import Monitoring System which will help in keeping a check on the import of spurious steel into the country. The industry was very encouraged and enthused with the positive response received from the Minister on their various issues.
The interaction was attended by around 20 CEOs of primary and secondary steel producers and several sectoral associations.
14 September 2019