NEW DELHI: Soon after it became the net exporter of steel, India plans to touch double-digit exports of the commodity in the next two to three years, Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said.
The Minister, while addressing the media on the three-year achievements of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Government, said that the Country was aiming for double digit exports, even as the Government's continued thrust would be to increase consumption in the domestic market.
According to an official, steel exports, currently at 8.2 million tonnes (mt), are likely to be close to 10 mt in three years' time. Steel exports in 2016-17 more than doubled from 4 mt in 2015-16, partly due to subdued domestic demand. During the same financial year, imports were reduced by 37 per cent at 7.42 mt, as a result of Government initiatives, he said. Meanwhile, the minister said, India was headed towards becoming the second-largest steel producer in the world, as it added 16.5 mt of crude steel capacity in the past three years.
Efforts are on to increase the contribution of steel sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) from the present 2 per cent, the Minister said. The new steel policy will help raise production capacity to 300 mt by 2030-31, he said, adding that the government was committed towards bringing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector. The proposed joint venture between ArcelorMittal and SAIL is in final stages and will be finalised this month, Singh said.
SAIL and ArcelorMittal had inked a pact, in May 2015, to set up a Rs 5,000-crore auto-grade steel plant. The JV will produce high-end steel based on latest technology. The hot-rolled input products for the proposed facility will be supplied by SAIL's new hot strip mill in Rourkela, Odisha. ArcelorMittal, the Luxembourg-based company, had hinted that the proposed steel plant will come up at a major auto cluster in India.
The Country has four major auto clusters — Pune-Chakan belt in Maharashtra, on the outskirts of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Sanand in Gujarat, and the Gurgaon-Neemrana belt that covers Haryana and Rajasthan.