New Delhi, July 16 : Union Minister for Steel, Chemicals and Fertilisers Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday urged the steel industry to continue to support the effort of the government in managing the inflationary trend in the country.
Delivering inaugural address at the "India Steel Conclave" here today, the Minister said that government does not want the industry to suffer and is concerned about the rise in the cost of the raw materials.
He urged the industry to ensure that the profit levels are not disproportionate to the rise in cost of production. Paswan said a fine balance has to be ensured between the consumer's interest and the interest of the industry.
The Minister said the Indian Steel Industry is on way to emerge as the third largest in the world by 2015 and emphasized the need to implement all expansion programmes in a time bound manner.
He said the Ministry is closely monitoring the major steel investment projects for which an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) has been functioning under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Steel since last year.
The progress of public sector steel units is also being closely monitored. By the year 2012, it is estimated that India would have a steel production capacity of 124 million tonnes from the current level of 59 million tonnes.
Taking into account the investments in pipeline Indian steel production capacity would be nearly 300 million tonnes by the year 2020.
The Minister said such a massive investment in the steel sector will involve a number of issues to be sorted out. Steel is a highly capital intensive industry which depends upon allocation of raw material resources, land, water, environmental and forest clearances as sell as development of huge infrastructure. A part of the issues have to be looked into by the State Governments concerned.
Paswan said in some of the States even the Rehabilitation and Settlement (R andR) policy was not framed. Land acquisition and forest clearances are the two major bottleneck being faced by most of the greenfield steel projects. There is also the issue of delay in iron ore mining lease to major steel producers.
He said steel industry and the associated mining activities are usually located in relatively underdeveloped regions of the country, dominated by underprivileged and tribal population.
The industry has a responsibility for looking after the needs of the local population and act as a facilitator for social development. Paswan said Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) assumes a significant role in this area. All profitable PSUs under the steel Ministry have made commitments to the cause of CSR and have earmarked at least two per cent of their distributable surplus for CSR activities.
He said we have also asked the main producers to adopt villages around their plant locations as a part of the CSR activities.