New Delhi, Nov 14 (UNI) India is expected to become the second largest steel producer in the world by 2012 when it will be producing 124 milion tonnes of crude steel.
The country has already emerged as the fifth largest producer of steel, manufacturing about 49.58 million tonnes of steel in 2006-07.
This was stated by Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan while addressing the Economic Editors Conference here.
Mr Paswan said the Public Sector companies SAIL and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited will increase their capacities to nearly 32 million tonnes by 2012.
The Minister said ''if one takes into account the intentions expressed by various MNCs and domestic major players the country is likely to achieve a total steel output of 275 million tonnes by 2020.'' Of this SAIL alone will account for 60 million tonnes of steel production in that year.
Mr Paswan said going by the ballpark estimate of Rs 4,000 crores investment per million tonne of additional capacity, the huge capacity building in the country will result in a likely investment of Rs 2,76,880 crores by 2012 and Rs 8,70,640 crores by 2020.
The Minister said the Indian steel industry has withstood international competition despite the reduction of basic customs duty on steel from 25 to 30 per cent in 2002-03 to 5 per cent in 2006-07. The industry now operates in an open economy where exports and imports respond to increases or decreases in the domestic demand driven primarily by market signals.