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In 2022, the focus of the steel sector will be on increasing production, deciding the availability of raw materials

(Abhishek Sonkar)

New Delhi, Dec 28 (PTI) In the new year 2022, the government will focus on increasing per capita steel consumption, increasing production of special steel as well as ensuring availability of raw materials.

Minister of State for Steel Faggan Singh Kulaste said that the focus would also be on finding new markets, as the steel production in the country continues to grow.

According to the National Steel Policy 2017, the government has set a target to increase crude steel production in the country to 300 million tonnes by 2030. Under this policy, a target has been set to increase the domestic per capita steel consumption to 160 kg by 2030.

Kulaste told PTI in an interview that the per capita steel consumption in the country at present is around 723 kg, while the capacity is 143.9 million tonnes per annum.

He said that emphasis would also be laid on increasing the production of special steel.

According to the minister, the Indian steel sector is full of opportunities, and the country should aim to achieve the top position in quality steel production.

The ministry has already directed public sector undertakings (PSUs) and private companies to take measures to cut imports of special steel.

Industry body Indian Steel Association (ISA) said the demand for finished steel in India is expected to grow by about 16.7 per cent to reach 104 million tonnes by the end of 2021, and 111 million tonnes by the end of next year.

ISA Secretary General Alok Sahai said crude steel production during January-November 2021 was 104.9 million tonnes. He expects to produce 124-125 million tonnes of crude steel by the end of 2022.

State-owned Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) said in a statement that 2021 was a challenging year for the company and the entire industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.

SAIL, however, said its target in 2022 would be to reduce the company’s borrowings, which stood at Rs 22,478 crore as of September 30, and stood at Rs 35,350 crore at the end of March this year.

T V Narendran, CEO and MD, Tata Steel, said the company is optimistic about 2022 and the current uptrend will continue for a long time. He said the government’s emphasis on infrastructure, existing reform measures including disinvestment and initiatives like self-reliant India would provide further momentum.

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