India imports around six million tonnes of scrap steel every year and is the second largest importer of scrap after Turkey adding that by 2025, the country will be able to generate 7.5 million tonnes of scrap every year.
The government today said it is planning to set up scrap-based steel plants in north and west parts of India to augment the country’s production capacity. “We are examining the feasibility of setting up scrap-based steel plants,” Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said during Make in Steel Conference here. Stressing that the scrap-based steel plants are environment-friendly, energy-efficient and cost effective, he said that these plants would be on the lines of ‘melt and manufacture’ steel technology used in the US. “I would like you to deliberate on the cost-benefit analysis of setting up scrap-based steel plants in north and west India. These regions are important form the perspective of scrap-availability and steel import hubs. The plants will have the capability to produce special high-grade steels, a pre-requisite for ‘Make in Steel’,” the minister said.
India, he said, imports around six million tonnes of scrap steel every year and is the second largest importer of scrap after Turkey adding that by 2025, the country will be able to generate 7.5 million tonnes of scrap every year. Asserting that India has retained its position as the fastest growing major steel economy in the world, the minister exuded confidence the country would continue to lead the growth trend in the world steel industry. Stating that India’s share in global steel output has increased to 5.09 per cent last year from 5.5 per cent in 2015, Singh said that “So far as production of steel is concerned, we are on the right path.”
He also stressed upon the need to create demand of steel in line with the planned increase in capacities and added that the country is aiming to increase per capita steel consumption to 160 kilogram. “We should work towards meeting the entire domestic demand of high-grade automotive steel, electrical steel and special steels from domestic production. These products constitute a major portion of the steel imports in India,” the minister said.
As far as productivity is concerned, India, he said, is lagging behind the international benchmarks of performance, and added that at country level, the public sector undertakings need to catch up with the productivity and efficiency levels achieved by the private steel firms. “All Indian steel companies need to aim high and work towards achieving international levels,” he said. The research and development in Indian steel industry was “dismal”, Singh said adding there was a need to work on ‘out-of-box’ solutions and technologies for steel making using indigenous resources.
“On one hand, there is overlapping and duplication of research efforts, on the other hand no research is being done on future requirements of the industry,” he said. “I went to Luxembourg last year and was apprised that they are trying to explore for mineral resources in space. In a small country like Luxembourg, (they) can dream that big, what stops us from aiming high?,” he said. The steel ministry is in the process of talking to hill states to increase the use of crash barriers to minimise fatalities due to road accidents on hills, he informed.
The rural development ministry has already recommended use of steel-intensive structures in rural housing, he added. Stating that the government is making efforts so that India made steel can be defined in light of the existing Public Procurement Bill, he said “this will provide for mandatory procurement from domestic bidders on the ground of promoting domestic industry”. “Basically the aim is to emphasise lower life cycle costing while evaluating projects, rather than just looking at the upfront cost alone,” the minister said.