New Delhi: Timely completion of ongoing expansion plans in the domestic steel sector, appropriate fiscal measures to curb the threat of cheap imports, raw material security for steel firms will be top priorities, new minster of state for steel A Sai Prathap said on Wednesday.
“Major challenge of the steel ministry is to complete the expansion programme of SAIL and RINL on time. The steel ministry would also look to ensure that land acquisition and other clearances including forest and environment approval are accorded on a fast-track basis,” Prathap said while assuming the charge of MoS Steel here.
The minister said to protect the interest of domestic steel producers appropriate fiscal measures to curb the threat of cheap steel import and dumping should be taken soon.
“The question of instituting the requisite fiscal measures in the context of the Indian steel industries, demand has to be immediately addressed,” he said.
The steel industry is demanding the imposition of the safeguard and the anti-dumping duties to check cheap imports from countries like China.
Prathap also favoured indigenous utilization of vital minerals like iron ore. “Priority should be given to indigenous utilization of raw materials like iron ore against their exports,” he said.
Talking about RINL, which is based in his home state Andhra Pradesh, he said proposals are under consideration for the steel PSU to acquire the Bird Group of Companies for ensuring backward integration in raw material and for improving synergies of the companies under consideration.
Another proposal for the RINL to acquire Neelanchal Ispat Nigam Ltd with the annual production capacity of one million tonne is also on the ministry’s mind, he added.
The government is also considering restructuring and merging of all the steel PSUs including the Bird Group of Companies, HSCL, BRL and SIIL aimed at capturing the benefits of their improved synergies.
SAIL and RINL are undertaking about Rs70,000 crore expansion programme to almost double their annual production capacity to 26 million tonnes and 6 million tonnes, respectively, by 2012.
Another steel PSU, NMDC, is in the process of setting up a three-million-tonne-per-annum steel unit in Chhattisgarh.