Ministry pitches for minimum import price on steel
In an attempt to impose duty on steel imports, the Steel Ministry on Wednesday said it has sent a note to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) seeking permission to fix minimum import price for various steel products. “The Ministry is looking into the industry’s suggestion to impose minimum import price on steel products and it has been sent to the PMO last week,” the Union minister of state for Steel and Mines Vishnu Deo Sai said. Deo said the ministry was also in talks with the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) to explore the possibility of further reducing the iron ore prices. “Now that winter session of parliament has ended, we will sit with our senior minister and look into the challenges being faced by the Indian steel sector and explore possible solutions,” said the minister. The minister also announced that the government is planning a total investment of above Rs.1.5 lakh crore for setting up four ultra mega steel projects (UMSP), each having a capacity to produce 60 lakh tonnes of steel. Apart from producing 10 lakh tonnes of steel if we add mining cost, the investment amounts to about Rs.6,000 crore, he said, adding that the government has also signed an agreement with Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in this regard and is in talks with Karnataka government for a 3 million tonne steel plant. He expressed hope that the recently-formed National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET), which is focused on exploration of coking coal resources across India, will not only make country self-reliant in terms of cooking coal but also reduce India’s dependence on coal imports. The minister also called for promoting research & development in the steel sector to achieve long-term industry goals and asked the steel firms to invest about 1% of their total sales business on the same. He was speaking at the inauguration of the 9th Steel Summit organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) in New Delhi. In his address, Sandeep Jajodia, senior vice-president, Assochem, urged the government to reduce iron ore prices and bring them in line with global scenario.
December 24, 2015 | 04:00pm IST