Minister of Steel and Petroleum & Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan announced the setting up of a working group to regularly monitor the increase in steel usage in India. The minister said that investments across sectors like railway, roads & highways, civil aviation and energy would further provide impetus to steel consumption.
Pradhan said this while chairing the webinar, ‘Ispati Irada: Enhancing Steel Usage with Focus on Construction and Infrastructure Sectors’. The Minister of State for Steel, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Secretary Steel, Pradip Kumar Tripathi and other senior officials from the ministry, experts, industry leaders, academicians, researchers, large users and regulators also participated in the webinar.
Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan said that the steel industry played a fundamental role in the economic development of a nation. He said that though India was the second-largest producer of steel in the world and had the capacity to build quality products, per-capita consumption of steel in the country was almost one-third of the global average and there was immense potential for growth.
Talking about the webinar’s theme, ‘Ispati Irada’, the Minister said, “Ispat (steel) is not just a material but it is a state of mind. India had an Ispati Irada (steel will) to be an inclusive developed nation.”
He said that it was not a mere slogan, but a manifestation of the government’s determination to strengthen the economy, ameliorate the condition of the poor, improve the environment and enhance employment opportunities. He further stated that the collaborative branding campaign ‘Ispati Irada’ had the objective of promoting appropriate steel usage in the country and aimed to leverage the usage of steel as an easy-to-use, environment-friendly, cost-effective, affordable and strength-giving material.
The minister said that the country had to identify the opportunities and challenges in increasing steel consumption. He said that the Ministry of Steel had already held discussions with key infrastructure ministries about encouraging steel usage. It was now engaging with various departments, state governments and other stakeholders. He called for ‘Make in Steel’ through a transition to more steel-intensive construction.
He urged webinar participants to come with some sound recommendations that could help in increasing the use of steel.
In his address, Kulaste said that there was a wide scope of increasing the consumption of steel in the country, particularly in rural areas. The consumption of steel in the rural areas was almost one-quarter of the national average. He said that the increase in steel consumption would provide an impetus to economic activity, help in improving the environment and create employment opportunities. He said that the government had announced the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) of Rs 1.03 trillion for the infrastructure sector and this would lead to enhanced steel demand.
Citing the example of Japan, which is earthquake-prone and uses up to 80 per cent steel in its structures, Kulaste said that steel provided strength and stability to them. He also said the steel industry would have to find ways to reduce the cost of construction.