Govt measures brought stability in steel prices: Paswan

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Kolkata, Sep 20 (UNI) Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today said the Centre's recent fiscal and administrative measures had brought stability in steel prices.

Inaugurating the eighth Asian Steel Conference here, Mr Paswan maintained that the Union government had to take certain fiscal and administrative measures in a bid to control the domestic price of steel as rising inflation was affecting the common man.

'' The net effect caused the domestic price to be Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 lower than the international market during the worst period between May and June,'' Mr Paswan added.

The important duty on all non-alloy steel products, metcoke, coal, ferro-allowys, scrap and zine had also been withdrawn to make steel available at a cheaper price in the domestic market, he said The minister attributed the current phase of stability in steel prices to the efforts made by the Centre during the past five months.

''Currently, the growth rate of steel production stands at nearly five per cent over the demand growth of 10-11 per cent.In the short run, the supply side has shown somewhat sluggish growth in creation of new capacity, especially in the large scale production facilities. Supply from this sector has been growing slowly at around six per cent in the last five years. Increased supply from this sector in the short run is not very bright as these units are already operating at more that 100 per cent capacity utilisation,'' he observed.

Emphasising the need for sorting out major bottle necks such as allocation of raw material resources like iron ore,coal,land, water and delay in enviornment and forest clearance as well as requirement of huge infrastructure, the minister said the Centre was committed to achieve the revised target of creating new steel capacities to support the projected growth rate of the Indian economy.

'' Since India is one of the low cost steel producers in the world, it is expected that our cost-competitivencss derived basically from low cost iron ore. We expect that assimilation of better technology will further improve competitiveness of Indian steel,'' Mr Pawan observed.

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