The Indian steel industry is at a precipice in its growth journey. Rapid rise in production has resulted in India becoming the 2nd largest producer of crude steel during 2018, from its 3rd largest status in 2017. The country is also the largest producer of Sponge Iron or DRI in the world and the 3rd largest finished steel consumer in the world after China & USA. With the vision of a $ 5 Trillion economy by 2024-25 and the Rs 100 Lakh Crores planned investment in infrastructure, it is important to shape the steel industry to meet the demand that is likely to increase over the coming years. Ensuring that the nation is prepared to handle this envisioned increase will require concerted effort across multiple avenues including capacity expansions, value addition, trade balance improvement, logistics infrastructure enhancement and R&D. This will entail close collaboration amongst the various stakeholders in the steel value chain – Government (Central and State), steel producers, steel users, academia, and financiers.
India’s per capita steel consumption is currently at an average of 74 Kgs per capita versus a global average of ~255 Kgs per annum. With the thrust on steel usage intensive sectors such as infrastructure and construction, the consumption is expected to increase in an accelerated trajectory. Government schemes like Housing for all, Jal Shakti and the resulting investments they will drive into roads, railways and other infrastructure will be major drivers for the growth of the steel sector in India. Steel is and will continue to be extremely important for nation building in terms of value creation and job creation. The Indian steel industry will need to be prepared to meet the requirements that will arise out of this vision
2. INVESTING IN INDIAN STEEL SECTOR- MAKE IN INDIA INITIATIVES:
The following are some of the major factors which will boost the demand of steel in India and reasons to invest in Indian steel sector:
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for National Steel Policy (NSP) 2017 on 08.05.2017. The new Steel Policy enshrines the long term vision of the Government to give impetus to the steel sector. It seeks to enhance domestic steel consumption and ensure high quality steel production and create a technologically advanced and globally competitive steel industry. The policy projects crude steel capacity of 300 million tonnes (MT), production of 255 MT and seeks to increase per capita steel consumption to the level of 160 Kgs by 2030 from existing level of around 60 Kg and major segments of consumptions are infrastructure, automobiles and housing sectors. The policy also envisages to domestically meet the entire demand of high grade automotive steel, electrical steel, special steels and alloys for strategic applications and increase domestic availability of washed coking coal so as to reduce import dependence on coking coal from about 85% to around 65% by 2030-31.
- A Mega Conclave held on ‘Capital Goods for Steel Sector: Manufacture in India’ in Bhubaneswar on Oct 23rd, 2018 involving relevant Central Ministries and State Govts, Global technology providers & World Steel Association, Indian Capital goods manufacturers and major Indian Steel Companies, R&D institution/ IIT, with MECON as the knowledge partner to promote domestic manufacturing of capital goods for steel sector in India in the wake of opportunities emanating from NSP-2017. Several MoUs were signed for technology collaboration in various areas of Iron & Steel industry and also for manufacture of capital goods for the steel sector in India.
- The Union Cabinet has approved the policy for providing preference to domestically manufactured iron & steel products on Government procurement. The policy provides preference to Domestically Manufactured Iron & Steel Products (DM1&SP), in Government Procurement for specified steel products having minimum value addition of 15%. The policy has been recently revised and gazetted on 29th May 2019 by incorporating purchase preference in capital goods for steel sector, in accordance with the guideline issued by Department of Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT). By this process, the scope of the policy has been enlarged to cover entire range of iron and steel products (under Chapter 72 & 73) and capital goods for manufacturing iron and steel products. Now the requirement of domestic value addition has been changed from 15% to a range 15-50% depending upon the indigenous capability and capacity to manufacture a particular product. It is expected that the policy change with indigenous value addition criterion against each product, shall give impetus to indigenous manufacturing through widening of manufacturing base, sharing of know-how, product development as well as technological transfer by way of multi-lateral collaboration. This will also encourage foreign technology providers and critical steel plant manufacturers to set up manufacturing facilities in India.
- Chintan Shivir: Towards a Vibrant, Efficient and Globally Competitive Indian Steel Sector
The Chintan Shivir event held on 23rd Sept. 2019 at New Delhi & was conceptualized with a clear theme in line with the vision and objectives “Towards a Vibrant, Efficient and Globally Competitive Indian Steel Sector” and involved participation from over 900 participants across Government (Centre, State), CPSEs, private sector, research institutes, consulting and banking sectors. The brief is as under:
- Domestic Capacity Expansion with Special Reference to Secondary Steel Sector: The secondary steel sector in India currently contributes over 40% of the total capacity and it will need to play a crucial role for India to reach 300 MT capacity. This discussion thus aimed to identify challenges to capacity expansion in the country with a special focus on secondary steel and to correspondingly discuss on suggestions on alleviating these.
- Demand Generation: Despite being the 3rd largest steel consumer in the world, India has per capita steel consumption that is only one third of the world’s average. This session therefore aimed to discuss, deliberate and identify suggestions to increase the per capita consumption of steel in the country.
- High Grade Steel Production: Despite being a small share of imports by quantity, alloy and stainless steel contribute disproportionately to the import bill by value. Hence, this session delved into intriguing challenges for the special steel sector and outlined potential suggestions to enable India to emerge as a key player in high grade steel.