BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to boost the current capacity expansion in steel business, domestic producers inked pacts with technology providers and capital goods manufacturers here on Tuesday. As many as 38 MoUs worth `39,400 crore were signed among 20 firms at the conclave on “Capital Goods for Steel Sector: Manufacture in India” which was jointly organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mecon and Steel Ministry.
Of the 20 firms which signed the agreements, around 12 are foreign players. The move is aimed at reducing the production cost by cutting on imports of capital goods meant for the iron and steel sector.
Addressing the event, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the MoUs have the potential of transforming India into a world-class manufacturing hub.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said it is an opportune time to develop capability to meet the demand for capital goods domestically as the industry speeds up capacity expansion. Stating that it will be a win-win situation, Singh said the country aims to increase its crude steel capacity to 300 million tonne in next 10-12 years and the industry is expected to invest $128 billion for creation of additional capacity.
“We have to import large number of critical equipment valued at around $25 billion to meet the needs of the country’s steel industry by 2030-31. Besides, spares worth over $500 million will have to be imported every year to meet the needs of the industry,” he said.Some of the companies which showed interest include Luxemburg-based Paul Wurth, Primetals Technologies, China-based ACRE and SMS. To ensure that the MoUs culminate into manufacturing of capital goods, a preference policy to cover all purchase of steel products is being worked upon by the Ministry.
“This will ensure that categories of products, which are not covered by the Domestically Manufactured Iron & Steel Products (DMI&SP) policy, get covered by the proposed policy in line with the one prescribed by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion,” the Union Minister said.
Claiming that the domestic steel sector has a lot of potential even as steel production in other countries including China are now being curtailed, Singh justified that there has been rise in the rate of steel consumption by seven per cent in the last four years and 7.9 per cent in the last two years in the country. Production, at the same time, has also increased at the rate of 6.7 per cent, he added.Participating in a panel discussion during the event, JSPL CEO (Steel Business) NA Ansari said,”We need to develop steel making technologies and equipment indigenously for the growth of steel industry in the country.”