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Minister calls for higher use of steel

Ambarish Mukherjee

NEW DELHI, May 22

THE Union Minister of Steel, Mr B.K. Tripathy, in a bid to prop up domestic steel consumption, has written to other Ministries to increase the use of steel.

Increased use of steel in Government works is expected to be a part of the national policy on steel. The ongoing exercise of drafting the policy paper is expected to be over in another three months' time.

According to a Ministry official, focus is being laid on using more steel in construction works undertaken by various departments because in the long-run cost-benefit analysis, such buildings have a much longer life span.

Following the earthquake in Gujarat where concrete buildings collapsed like packs of cards, the Ministry is promoting the safety aspect of using larger quantities of steel in the housing construction sector which is already one of the largest users of st eel, apart from manufacturing, railways and infrastructure.

The Ministry expects that with Government policies increasingly focussing on infrastructural development, steel demand could be raised through this route.

According to the Ministry, the new steel policy is being drawn up in line with the second generation reforms which are being introduced by the Government over a period of time.

After recording a 16 per cent jump in domestic steel consumption during 1995-96, there has a prolonged period of slow growth. From 21.65 million tonnes (m.t.) in 1995-96, domestic consumption increased by only 2.2 per cent to 22.13 m.t. in 1996-97. In 19 97-98, it increased again by 2.6 per cent to 22.63 m.t. In 1998-99, it went up 4.02 per cent to 23.54 m.t. Next year, it increased by 6.24 per cent to 25.01 m.t.

Related links:
Draft steel policy to be finalised soon
`Steel sector hit by supply-demand mismatch' -- Prior dialogue on import duties sought

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