The government on Thursday stressed the need to cut import dependence for special grade steel, exhorting the domestic players to go for research and development activities and take required measures to make India self-reliant in value-added steel production.
Union Minister of State for Steel Faggan Singh Kulaste, while speaking at a Ficcci event, said though the country is the second largest producer of crude steel in the world, it is purely dependent on imports for special grade steel.
Value added steel or special grade steel is used in segments like power, ship, rail, metro, defence, auto etc. Kulaste asked steel makers to identify those grades of steel which are not manufactured in the country and are widely used and develop them in India.
He said the industry players can conduct research and development (R&D) activities, go for transfer of technology or form Joint Venture to set up special grade steel plants in the country. This will help India become ''Aatmanirbhar'' in value-added steel and save huge forex outgo besides generating employment opportunities, the minister said at the conference on ''FICCI-Manufacturing Value Added Steel - Contribution Towards Vocal for Local & Aatmanirbhar Bharat''.
"India is the second largest producer of steel in the entire world, yet it is fully dependent on imports for special grade steel. Let''s have a look at the import dependence of 2019-20. In the year import of 6.778 million tonne took place and India exported 8.356 MT... In monetary terms, import of Rs 44,683 crore happened while export was (lower) at Rs 36,726 crore," he said.
The figures, he said, clearly show that even as the export exceeds import, the value of imported special grade remains higher. The country needs to increase the volume keeping the prices in mind.
The government has also prepared a draft framework policy for development of steel clusters in the country that will help to increase production of value-added steel and generate employment.
The draft framework policy aims at facilitating setting up of greenfield steel clusters along with development and expansion of existing steel clusters.