February , 2020
Indian Steel Association is concerned about coking coal availability
11:52 am

B.E. Bureau

Indian Steel Association (ISA) as a platform for the Indian iron and steel industry addresses issues and challenges common to its members. The vision of the Indian Steel Association (ISA) is to transform the Indian steel industry as a global leader. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Secretary General and Executive Head, Indian Steel Association spoke to BE’s Kuntala Sarkar.

Q. What are the major challenges faced by the Indian steel industry regarding export? How is your organisation looking into the matter?

A. ISA has been proactively taking up the related issues with government policy makers, including NITI Aayog. Steel producers in India are going to face a disturbing future in regard to availability of raw materials after the lease tenures of merchant mines lapse on March 31, 2020. ISA wants governmental intervention regarding iron ore mines where leases are expiring by the end of the 2020 fiscal. We are also demanding better logistics infrastructure, more wagon availability and rationalisation of railway tariffs on iron ore. Inadequate accessibility of coking coal has been another major concern for the Indian steel industry.

The government must circumvent steel imports into India to encourage domestic production. The government should ensure a level playing field by rectifying the inverted duty structure with respect to raw materials and finished goods. To incentivise producers and exporters in India, the Indian government has announced the Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) and we are looking forward to its immediate implementation. De-facto non-tariff measures existing in some countries - for their exports - are also affecting India’s steel market as it is experiencing significant dumping.

Q. Is infrastructural and real estate growth in India adequate to revive the domestic steel sector in India?

A. Government spending on infrastructure is expected to provide a substantial boost to the steel sector and also to the economy. It has been declared that the government will announce a spending of Rs 100 trillion on infrastructure projects over the next five years. That amount of spending can be expected to give a boost to the steel industry.

Q. How is the Indian Steel Association trying to reduce the stressed assets of the steel sector?

A. Consolidation and revival of stressed assets is the need of the hour. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) is a logical solution, provided a suitable policy framework is ensured under the IBC process. The recent ordinance to amend the IBC, 2016 is a step towards that. As an industry association of major crude steel producers in the country, we have been vocal about our concerns regarding the issue.

Q. How is your association playing an assertive role to have a higher capacity utilisation of the steel sector?

A. As an organisation, we continuously interact with policy makers and the government departments regarding this. That said, I must add that an increase in steel demand will definitely help to improve capacity utilisation.

Q. How is your organisation placed to improve the Indian steel sector’s international competitiveness?

A. As an industry association, representing more than 65% of total crude steel production in the country, ISA regularly interacts with similar industry organisations of other countries like Japan, China, Korea, ASEAN nations, Vietnam etc. The ideas are shared and communicated with our members and then our members take the final call on technological innovations suitable to their operations. We also take up important issues, which can increase our international competitiveness, with the government.

Q. Do you feel that increased coal production can boost the steel industry?

A. Metallurgical coal is an important raw material for our industry. I must say that increased access to good quality coal will help in our operations. Logistically viable coal mines should be assigned to steel manufacturers. This would also help the steel industry.


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