India to become second largest steel-producing nation by 2012: Virbhadra Singh

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New Delhi, July 23 (ANI): Union Minister of Steel Virbhadra Singh on Friday said India is expected to become the second largest steel-producing nation by 2012 with a targeted production capacity of 120 million tones.

Chairing a meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry here, Singh said: "During the last one year, while action on many of the crucial agenda items were completed, those involving long term targets like the modernization and expansion programmes of PSUs like Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) are also at an advanced stage of progress."

"India is the third largest producer of crude steel in the world, surpassing developed countries like USA and Russia. Indian Steel Industry contributes to nearly two percent of Gross Domestic Production and employs over five lakh people," he added.

Virbhadra Singh further said the steel sector continues to be one of the major contributors to national exchequer and in 2009-10 up to end of third quarter (April-December 2009) the net profit earned by all the profit making PSUs taken together was to the tune of Rs. 8008.57 crore.

"In 2009-10, the steel sector was able to make a recovery after the sluggish growth on account of global downturn and adverse market condition of 2008-09. The resurgence in automotive appliances, capital goods and construction sectors have directly contributed to this positive performance," said Singh.

"During the year, the industry achieved a total capacity utilization of 88.9 percent showing increase in production of crude steel by 10.7 percent and finished steel by 4.4 percent as well as consumption by 7.9 percent," he added.

Singh claimed the year 2010-11 has begun on a note of optimism for the steel sector and especially for the major PSUs under the Ministry's administrative control like SAIL, RINL and NMDC Ltd. (ANI)

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