“Modi Government has adopted a result-oriented approach in every sphere of economy. The outcomes have already started showing. The present government has steered steel and mines industry in India to growth path in a short time span”, said Union Steel & Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, while addressing Media persons at a press conference organized at Udyog Bhawan today.
Tomar explained how focus on infrastructure, village electrification, rural areas, rail network and road construction will give boost to economy and benefit sectors like steel and mines. He elaborated on the steps taken by government to support the industry in challenging times. The overall growth of economy and disposable income in the hands of common man has direct linkage with increase in demand for products and services in the rural and semi-urban parts of the nation, he added. The Minister explained in detail the efforts made by the present government for supporting steel industry and reviving mining sector in India.
Tomar shared details of steps taken, including handholding of states by government of India, to create a conducive and positive environment for auction of mines by the states, subsequent to MMDR Amendment Act, 2015 brought in by the present government. These included formulation of rules and notifications, visits by the minister and officials to states, several rounds of meeting, addition of new exploration agencies, facilitating engagement of MSTC, GSI, MECL and other agencies for carrying out auctions. He informed the media members that just from 6 auctions carried out till date, total revenue of Rs. 18108 crore will be generated for the states over the lease period. He emphasized that out of this amount, Rs. 14855 crore additional revenue for the states (from auction, DMF, NMET and increase in royalty) will be generated over the lease period, entirely on account of initiatives of present government.
Tomar said that as a result of reforms in the mining sector, Index of Mineral production for MCDR minerals has increased by 11.7 % in the period April-January of FY’16, compared to corresponding period last year. He highlighted the substantial growth registered in production of minerals during last few months and pointed out that 45 % growth has been achieved in production of iron ore in last quarter of 2015, over the same period last year. During April-Dec. 2015, other minerals like Bauxite (32.7 % ), chromite (13.4 %), copper conc. (30.4 %), lead conc. (40.8 %) and zine conc. (11.4 %) also registered significant growth over corresponding period last year.
Tomar underscored the crucial role Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetr Kalyan Yojna will play in development of areas and welfare of people (mainly tribals) in the mining areas. He remarked that exploration related initiatives of the present government are going to be unprecedented.
The Minister informed the media that 16 million tonnes steel production capacity has been added in the country, after formation of the present government and new capacities are being planned through Special Purpose Vehicles. In 2015, India jumped to 3rd position in steel production from earlier 4th position and has retained the pride of place since then, he added. Moreover the workers of steel industry in India deserve compliments for bucking the global trend in steel production and consumption in 2015 by registering positive growth.
Speaking on impact of Union & Rail budgets on steel industry, he enumerated various decisions that would benefit the steel industry by increasing the demand and creating a growth enabling environment. These include :
• Combined outlay of Rs. 2,21,246 crores for infrastructure development in Railway and Union Budget of FY 17, will result in huge development leading to increased demand for steel in the coming years. -Target to accomplish 100% village electrification by 1st May 2018. There will be increase in demand of steel products such as poles, structural steel, wires, electrical steel, etc.
• Dedicated Freight corridors for North-South, East-West and East Coast will spur the demand of steel.
• Indian Railway has targeted to commission 2,800 km of new tracks by next year leading to increase in demand of rails.
• Railway Budget has extensively emphasized for ports connectivity. New investments proposed in network expansion, broad gauging, locomotive production and warehousing development, development storage chains, etc. will ultimately help the Indian steel industry.
• A new policy to expand LPG connections to the poor and the needy particularly in the rural areas will increase the demand for LPG grade HR Coils. The steel industry will directly benefit from this.
• Huge investments in the rural sector particularly in development of irrigation, Rurban cluster infrastructure. There is a possibility of increase in the disposable income and expenditure, which ultimately will boost steel demand.
• No hike in freight rates was announced in the railway budget and thus steel industry will gain from unchanged fare in the present moderate inflationary conditions.
The Minister also welcomed the decisions taken in the budget to support the Mines sector in India. Increase in import duty on aluminum and zinc will support the domestic industries. Reduction in export duty on low grade iron ore, bauxite and chromium will promote export of surplus mineral, he added.