New Delhi: India is aiming to more than double its steel production to 124 million tonnes by 2011-12 and further raise it to 280 million tonnes by 2020, Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told Rajya Sabha today.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, Paswan said India ranked eighth in world steel production when UPA Government took office in 2004 and has today climbed to 5th spot with 54 million tonnes of annual steel production.
“Our National Steel Policy had targeted 124 million tonnes of steel production by 2020. But we have now brought the target forward to 2011-12 and for 2020 we are aiming to raise production capacity to 280 million tonnes,” he said.
Steel Ministry, he said, was of the view that high quality iron ore, the reserves of which in the country are very limited, should not be exported or their export discouraged through high export duties.
The exports cannot be fully stopped as iron ore mines employ some 500,000 people and their employment cannot be risked, he said adding export duty on iron ores has already been levied.
The global economic slowdown has seen growth in steel consumption in the country fall to 1.75% from a high of 13%. Also, prices of steel products have fallen since June.
Paswan said his Ministry has been holding consultations with the industry and recently the Government rolled back export duty on all categories of steel items, except melting sap, to help producers tide over fall in consumption levels in the country.