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Steel sector growing faster than the economy: Centre

Jamshedpur: The steel industry in India was growing faster than the country’s economic growth, reports PTI quoting a senior steel ministry official.

The steel industry is growing at the rate of around 9%-10% while our economic growth rate is around 8%-9%, additional secretary in the Union ministry of steel, S Machendranath said here today.

India at present ranks as the fourth largest producer of steel, he said.

Mr Machendranath, who was inaugurating a three-day international seminar on “Mineral Processing Technology” (MTP-2010) at National Metallurgical Laboratory, said 69 million tonne of steel has been produced so far against the targeted capacity of 73 million tonne this fiscal year.

He said the steel production is likely to go up in the third quarter.

The country has set targets to produce 100 million tonnes of steel by 2012-13 and 200 million tones by 2020, he said, while emphasizing the need to develop technology to improve the quality of minerals including iron-ore and coal, as import costs have been rising.

He strongly advocated for systematic approach for sustainable growth of the steel industry in the country, as the demand for mineral resources including iron ore would grow manifold with the expansion of steel sector.

Appreciating the role of Indian Institute of Mineral Engineers (IIME) in the development of the industrial sector in the country, Mr Machendranath stressed the need for research and development as well as to upgrade iron-ore and minimize high ashes in coal.

He said the Steel Development Fund, meant for research and development as well as product and process development, would spend Rs30 crore this year for eight schemes including minimizing the high ash content in coal.

Later, talking to newspersons, Mr Machendranath said the steel ministry had recommended ban on export of the iron ore from the country.

The fiscal barriers including increase in export duty would be fruitful in checking the exports of the ore, he said.

According to Mr Machendranath, India exported about 4 million tonnes steel and imported 7.4 million tonnes steel last year.

Claiming that the steel demand will grow in the third quarter of the current fiscal, he said the market would decide about steel prices with the increasing demand of steel.

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