The objective of imposing minimum import price (MIP) on certain steel products was not to give a "permanent cover" to the industry but to stop cheap inbound shipments, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today. She said there was a specific reason for imposing MIP on 173 steel items. ".our intention is not to give a permanent cover but (to extend) little help because it was so that the quantum of cheap steel which was coming into the country had to be stopped and where the surge was clearly established, we took this step," she told reporters here. They were all for short duration, she added. Giving relief to domestic steel producers against cheap inbound shipments, the government in February 2016 imposed MIP on 173 steel products ranging between\u00a0$341 to $752 per tonne. It was later reduced to 66 items and then to 19 at present. Experts have said MIP is not in compliance with global norms and India's trading partners may raise the issue in WTO. Last month, Japan dragged India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against certain measures taken by New Delhi on imports of iron and steel products. As per the WTO's dispute settlement process, the request for consultations is the first step in a dispute. Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation.