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Ministry of Steel,Government of India, held its Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting in Goa today chaired by the Minister of Steel, Chaudhary Birender Singh. The issues discussed atthe meeting were mining activities of CPSEs under Steel ministry and safety in Steel Plants.
At the end of the Parliamentary Consultative Committeemeeting, the Steel Minister addressedmedia persons and emphasized the importance of safety in the production of iron and steel which is a complex and hazardous activity.The Minister said that recognising the need to prevent injuries and accidents and provide a healthy working environment and also guard against all possible hazards and risks, it has been decided to set up a Safety Directorate which will become operationalsoon. This directorate will oversee the safety standards in the steel industry. Steel Minister said both its CPSEs, Steel Authority of India Limited and RashtriyaIspat Nigam Limited(RINL), have comprehensive safety policies.
On the issue of mining,Steel Minister said that by 2020, large number of the mining leases will expire, which the Ministry has taken cognizance of and is taking measures to tackle it. Apart from this issue, the mining activity of Orissa Minerals Development Company Limited (OMDC), a CPSE of Steel Ministry, is shut since some years and efforts are also on to make OMDC mine operational.
Steel Minister said that the National Steel Policy 2017 envisages steel capacity of 300 million tonne (MT) which will be affected if mining activities are not smooth. The Minister also stressed that besides the existing mines, there is a need to focus on exploration of new mines.
Chaudhary Birender Singhinformed that the production of steel has also increased in the year 2018 making India the second largest producer of steel in the world leaving behind Japan and the USA. BirenderSingh said that when we compare India’s per capita consumption of steel vis-a-vis the world consumption level which is 214 kg per capita we have a long way to go. He said before 2014, India’s per capita consumption of steel was 57 kg which has now increased to 69 kg per capita.
The Minister said that along with National Steel Policy formulated in 2017, the Policy for Domestically Manufactured Iron and Steel products was also finalized. Under this policy, preference is given to domestically produced steel. This has given impetus to the Make in India programme of the Government and has also led to savings of around Rs 8,000 crore till date.
The Minister further added that a National Scrap Policy is also being drafted which will be ready in a few months. This will make available nearly 7 MT scrap in the country. Presently the requirement of scrap is around 8.3 MT and most of it is met with scrap imports. He said that steel produced out of scrap is of good quality and is environment friendly. Chaudhary Birender Singh said that SAIL has made a turnaround in last two and half years. After suffering losses for ten consecutive quarters SAIL has earned a profit of around Rs. 2000 crore during the last three quarters. Secretary Steel, Binoy Kumar also interacted with the media.