The steel ministry has, for the sixth time, extended the deadline for the submission of applications to avail of benefits under the Rs 6,322-crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for specialty steel. The extension was granted in the wake of a delay in the finalisation of guidelines for the operationalisation of the programme, according to sources.
The application window for interested firms will remain open until September 15, against the earlier deadline of July 31.
The Cabinet had approved the scheme on July 22, 2021 and the scheme was notified on July 29. Subsequently, when the application window was opened, investors were given three months from December 29 to apply for it. But in between, the scheme guidelines were modified, following consultation with the steel industry. These modified guidelines are yet to be finalised.
Specialty steel is value-added variety, wherein normal finished steel is worked upon by way of coating, plating, heat treatment, etc to convert it into high value-added steel for use in various strategic sectors such as defence, space, power and automobiles, among others. India meets the domestic demand with imports with an annual forex outgo of around Rs 30,000 crore.
Coated products, high-strength steel, specialty rails, alloy steel products and electrical steel are the five broad target categories under the scheme.
The government has already deferred by a year the implementation of the scheme. Instead of 2022-23, the five-year scheme will now commence from 2023-24. The release of the incentives under the scheme will start from 2024-25, instead of 2023-24 proposed in the scheme guideline issued earlier.