The Minister of Steel & Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan has appealed to steel industry leaders to partner with the government in providing low-cost housing for migrant workers. Speaking as the Chief guest at the webinar on ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat: Fostering Steel Usage in Housing & Construction and Aviation Sector’ in New Delhi on Tuesday, he referred to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’(MoHUA’s) scheme and called upon public sector enterprises and steel industry leaders to partner with the government in the project.
Pradhan said that the Central Government had set a target of providing 100,000 such houses, but the industry should build many more steel-intensive, low-cost houses that can be emulated by others. The minister said that the industry should partner in such welfare-oriented initiatives of the government as the Aatmanirbhar Bharat seeks to provide dignity and self-respect to every citizen of the country.
Pradhan said that the mammoth projects being undertaken by the ministries of housing and urban affairs and civil aviation, and their plans should be music to the ears of the steel industry. He said that there was tremendous potential for enhancing the use of steel in the country as the nation marched ahead on the path of progress.
Referring to the Prime Minister’s recent Independence Day speech, in which the setting up of comprehensive global-standard infrastructure was emphasised, Pradhan called upon the states and industry to enhance spending. He said that the projects need to be implemented expeditiously by breaking free of the bureaucratic red-tape.
Accord Priority to Indigenously Produced Steel
Pradhan said during the COVID-19 crisis the Indian industry rose to the occasion and manufactured personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, masks and ventilators in large numbers, and the Indian pharma industry supplied medicines to 150 countries. On similar lines, India, which was already the second-largest producer in the world, should emerge as a preferred source for steel requirements.
He said that there was no shortage of good-quality steel products in the country, and giving priority to indigenously produced steel will help the industry become a preferred destination. Emphasising on the low-cost and affordable products, the minister said that productivity and production will have to be increased, value-addition done and activities undertaken on a mission mode.
Pradhan also called for setting up a working group, comprising of officers from various departments, industry associations and academicians to make suggestions for further improving the policy framework for enhancing steel consumption.
Also addressing the webinar, Kulaste stressed the need for enhancing the consumption of steel in the country. He said that key government initiatives like the Smart Cities Mission (SCM), Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Regional Air Connectivity Scheme-Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (RCS- UDAN) will give impetus to steel usage in the country. Kulaste said that the usage of steel was an indicator of the country’s progress and India with just one-third per capita consumption of steel when compared to the world average, had a large scope of increasing its consumption.
The webinar was organised by the Ministry of Steel in association with the industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs & Civil Aviation and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Steel were the guests of honour for the inaugural session. The secretaries of the departments of steel, MoHUA and civil aviation, senior officers of these departments and their PSUs, industry captains and CII’s senior functionaries also attended.