The Indian steel industry faces constraints such as ease of doing business, land acquisition, environmental clearance and availability of finance at competitive prices, JSW Steel Chairman Sajjan Jindal has said.
Speaking at the companyâ€™s annual general meeting (AGM) today, Jindal, who leads the USD 11-billion steel-to-cement conglomerate, added that the unprecedented growth in steel imports in hurting the domestic industry.
“The outlook for the domestic steel industry remains robust and the prospect of capital investments are bright, subject to, however, the timely intervention by policy makers to remove the constraints faced by the industry.
“These include ease of doing business, land acquisition, environmental clearances, resource allocation, availability of finance at competitive rates and infrastructure bottlenecks, among others,” Jindal said in his speech here.
On cheap steel imports, he said that an “unprecedented surge in imports” is hurting and causing injury to the domestic industry since steel is being sold at a price significantly lower than the domestic home-country prices of exporters.
“While cheap imports may benefit user industries in the short-term, surely reliance on imported steel cannot be a sustainable business strategy,” he countered.
Jindal said that Indian producers must be provided a level playing field to increase their prominence on the global stage.
“Indian steel producers, especially the large ones, are already regarded as among the globally acclaimed competitive producers. However, for the industry to perform to its potential and command a greater influence on the global stage, it must be accorded a level playing field,” Jindal added.
Jindal commended the government’s role in passing the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Amendment Act, 2015, which enables transparent auction of iron ore mines.
He said Indian steel makers faced three challenges in the last financial year.
“… sluggish domestic demand due to delay in pickup of investment cycle and infrastructure spending, iron ore supply constraints coupled with strong domestic iron ore prices vis- -vis seaborne markets.
“… and dumping of steel into India by steel-surplus countries like China, Russia, Japan and Korea and uncompetitive exports due to a stable rupee,” he added.