Steel PSUs are not holy cows and should step out of their comfort zone to perform and compete with private players, Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said today. “I have told my PSUs, especially those that produce steel, that there is a new environment where PSU is not a holy cow. You should perform and compete with your private players,” the minister said in an interview to PTI. The minister warned that the PSUs cannot afford to sit on their laurels in the changing scenario in the world. “So, either perform or perish,” Singh said, in a blunt message. The PSUs should diversify their activities and go for high-end steel production, Singh suggested. “Diversify your activities, go for high-end steel production and also diversify into those activities where you can make best use of your land which is available to you. There is about one lakh acres of land with steel plants of our PSUs,” Singh said.
According to steel ministry sources, the minister had earlier talked about SAIL barely achieving blast furnace productivity at 1.7 tonnes per cubic meter per day (tpcm/d) in contrast to over 2.5 tpcm/d by its private counterparts and global standard of over 3 tpcm/d. The minister had earlier rapped SAIL for slow progress in modernisation as well as capacity ramp-up as deadlines were missed. The government has already set up a committee to suggest measures to fast-track modernisation of steel public sector firms SAIL and RINL. The panel is chaired by the steel secretary and has CMDs of SAIL and RINL as its members. Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a leading global management consultancy, is also part of the panel, besides outside experts. Till February, Rs 64,986 crore have been spent by SAIL towards modernisation and expansion, mines and related schemes.