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23. August 2007

India will be 2nd largest steel maker by 2015: Paswan

With top steel makers like Arcelor Mittal and Posco of South Korea coming to India, Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan Monday said India would be the world's second largest steel maker by 2015 and that production would touch 200 million tonnes by 2020.

He, however, warned steel exporters to ensure that there was parity in steel price for the export market and domestic consumption, taking exception to the fact that exporters price steel cheaper than in the domestic market.

Talking to reporters after a meeting of the Steel Consumer Council, Paswan said steel producers must also maintain the price of steel uniformly at the district and state levels and bear the price difference.

With fluctuations in global steel market, the price monitoring committee will meet every month and take steps to ensure that prices are kept stable in the country, he said.

"The last fiscal marked the close of the 10th Plan and looking back one finds that production and consumption of finished non-alloy steel grew robustly during this five-year period, notching up an annual growth rate of 10 percent compounded."

As part of the government move to encourage steel consumption and production, small-scale industries can purchase steel directly from the manufacturers if they want, he said.

The National Steel Policy had forecast the steel produced in India - which is currently the fifth-largest producer - at 110 million tonnes by 2020.

The minister said steel demand would rise in India due to the development of new markets, a slew of infrastructure projects, manufacturing sector's growth and a thriving domestic economy.

But he admitted that there were issues that needed to be dealt with if India were to become the second largest steel producer.

"There are a host of issues ranging from raw material availability to proper infrastructure, control of environmental pollution, technology upgrade, sustained research and development, cost control and enhancing competitiveness." 

The most critical aspect, he said, was the need to lift per capita consumption, which called for enhanced promotional measures and awareness building exercises in different forums with the cooperation of all stakeholders.

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