The Minister of State for Steel and Rural Development Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste has said that Steel is one of the most important products of the modern world and is of strategic importance to any industrialized nation. He was addressing the conference organized on Indian Metal Industry: Current Outlook and Future Trends by ASSOCHAM here today. The Minister added that consumption of steel in India continues to grow due to its multiple benefits in almost all walks of life. Shri Kulaste also informed that in India, consumption of Steel in infrastructure and construction sector accounts for largest share over 65% and the balance is accounted for by the sectors such as engineering, packaging and automotive which are also displaying admirable increase in steel application year after year.
He said due to strong linkages with other sectors like construction, oil & gas, automobile, machinery, the demand for steel is increasing continuously along with the development in these sectors. In his speech, the Minister mentioned about the historical progression of metal industry including contribution of copper, aluminium and zinc besides Iron and Steel over the centuries. Elaborating further about enhanced usage of Steel in India, Shri Kulaste said that the per capita consumption of Steel in India grew by ten percent to 77 kg during financial year 2021-22. India has exported a record 13.5 million tonnes of finished steel in the year 2021-22 with a record production of over 120 million tonnes of crude steel and 113.6 million tonnes of finished steel as per the provisional estimates. The Minister apprised and reassured that Central Government is continuously interacting with various state governments to ease the process of implementation of various projects for the benefit of the country. The focus of our government is to lay major emphasis on development of infrastructure across the country with a self-reliant India, he added.
Shri Kulaste said that our government under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has initiated many projects such as National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), Sagarmala Project, Dedicated Freight Corridor, PM Gati Shakti Master Plan etc to reduce the cost incurred on logistics cost which in India at present is about 13-14% as compared to 7-8% of GDP in developed countries. The completion of these projects will save time in freight transportation, as well as reduce logistics cost, thereby reducing the cost for the Industry and making quality products should be available to the customers at affordable prices. Shri Kulaste cautioned the Steel Industry about the challenges from substitutes’ and cheaper alternatives such as composites materials which will rise with time. Therefore it is important to reduce cost by introduction of technology and smart working . The Minister highlighted that India has competitive advantage over its peers in steel production due to domestic availability of high-grade iron ore, strong domestic demand and availability of young workforce. He said due to the huge availability of minerals in the country, metal sector can play a major role in the country’s ambitious plans of self-reliant India and US$ 5 trillion economy by 2024-25.
The Minister emphasized that Industry and other stakeholders collectively will need to identify all those areas and factors contributing to increase in the consumption of these metals to improve availability for the common man at an affordable cost. Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste mentioned in addition to many strategic and relevant intervention and changes by government of India in last few years. It is important to strengthen domestic capability through technology development and innovation. This will not only enable the Indian metal and metallurgy sector to become a truly global one, but will also help make India a manufacturing hub for metals and metal products. He further said it is of critical importance to rationalize the need for the development of mineral reserves in the country especially minerals like Iron, Coal, Bauxite, Lime, Copper, Manganese, Chromium etc. which are the backbone of economic development. Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste urged different associations of industries to go to rural India and inform the people about the schemes of the government through small meetings or seminars. They can run skill development program there and can play an important role in nation building.