Steel cos seek removal of import duty, cess on coking coal
Steel makers like Tata Steel and Visa Steel have sought removal of import duty and clean energy cess on coking coal and giving thrust to domestic infrastructure forecasting tepid global demand next year.
"Steel industry has suffered an increase in input costs due to high coking coal prices this year. Almost all the coking coal requirement is met through imports. Therefore, import duty on coking coal should be removed," Tata Steel India Managing Director T V Narendran told PTI.
"Exemption from clean environment cess is also required as there is no substitute reducing agent for steel making unlike power generation," he added.
Visa Steel also echoed the same demanding that coking coal should be duty-free from the current 2.5 per cent.
"The import duty on raw materials such as coking coal should be reduced from 2.5 per cent to nil and the clean environment cess should be made modvatable to improve steel industry competitiveness," Visa Steel Vice-chairman and Managing Director Vishal Agarwal said.
Further, he said, policy measures for infrastructure spending and boosting consumer confidence was required to revive housing & automobile sector to increase domestic steel demand.
Narendran said, the domestic industry was tirelessly working to achieve the vision of producing 300 million tonne by the year 2030-31 by making necessary investments and building capacity.
"During the period April to November 2016, India's steel production grew by nearly 9 per cent but to achieve the target of 300 million tonne by 2030 it will need a major impetus from the government," he said.
The government should look into revising the guidelines like terminal and port congestion charges and busy season surcharge, especially at a time when rail traffic is stagnating. For steel industry, the main raw material iron ore should also be treated at par with other bulk minerals like coal and limestone for freight categorisation, Narendran said.