New steel policy in 6 months; to push for faster growth

New Delhi: A new steel policy will be put in place in six months to facilitate rapid growth of the domestic steel sector by ensuring faster capacity addition, the government on Friday said.

“A Steel Ministry panel, constituted to frame the new Steel Policy will finalise the draft in two months and the new Policy will be ready in another three-four months,” Joint Secretary Steel Dalip Singh told PTI on the sidelines of a Steel Summit here.

The work on the policy assumes significance as it is taking place against the backdrop of huge delays in the multi- billion dollar ventures including those of ArcelorMittal and POSCO because of regulatory and land acquisition hurdles.

The government envisages taking India’s capacity to 145 MT by 2015-16.

The new Policy is needed “to ensure time-bound implementation of green field capacities and to facilitate rapid growth of domestic steel industry,” Singh said.

ArcelorMittal, which has proposed projects worth Rs 1.3 lakh crore in Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh, is battling with land acquisition problems. POSCO, which has proposed a Rs 54,000 crore project in Orissa, billed as the country”s largest FDI, is facing regulatory hurdles for several years.

Similarly, Tata Steel has been able to acquire only partial land for its projects.

An updated National Steel Policy has been necessitated by the changing dynamics of the sector, including sharp rise in imports.

According to the Steel Ministry, imports rose sharply from 1.4 MT in 2001-02 to 7.3 MT in 2009-10 and steel demand is growing at 10 percent, as against 8 percent growth in production.

The new policy will replace the existing framework announced in November, 2005. It had projected country’s steel consumption to grow at 7 percent, based on a 7-7.5 percent GDP growth rate, and production of 110 million tonne by 2019-20.

The government has set up a panel headed by the Steel Secretary for monitoring the progress on formulation of the new National Steel Policy.

Four task forces have been constituted to study, analyse, consult and formulate draft policy documents on different aspects of the policy.

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