"India is the fourth largest producer of steel in the world and is likely to become the second largest soon," Verma said at the International symposium
'Converting challenges into opportunities: Iron and Steel'.
He said the steel production capacity of the country has gone up from 66 million tones in 2009 to about 90 million tones in 2012 and the government was making efforts to support
This was all part of finalising the new National Steel Vision which is at an advanced stage, the minister said.
The steel ministry has prepared a roadmap on R&D and technology, which focused on coal ash reduction and production of value added steel, the minister said while assuring that
the government was sincerely looking at ways for optimal utilisation of mineral resources.
With the industry largely dependent on imported coking coal, there arose the need to maximise usage of indigenous coking coal by adopting the latest coal washing techniques,
the minister said adding the government was also planning to adopt state-of-the-art steel making technologies, which used low grade iron-ore fines and non-coking coal.
The government believed that raw material resources need to be conserved for use of domestic industry, he said.
The government has taken measures like reduction in import duties on various inputs for the growth of the steel sector, Prasad said adding that the government also supported
acquisition of mineral assets abroad, which will give a boost to the industry.
The minister, however, said the important thrust areas included gaining a competitive edge in the global market through innovative means. The other areas are production of "Green Steel" and ensuring "zero accidents" in operation.
The cost-effective logistics was an important area that needed to be improved by using slurry pipelines and by upgrading rail, road and port infrastructure, the minister said adding that steel industry has the potential to be a catalyst of growth in the future and lead to progress of the national in the times to come.
Hailing the contribution made by the metallurgists in the growth of the country, the minister said it was appropriate that the golden jubilee function was organised in Jamshedpur, a city where the visionary founder Jamsetji Tata established the first integrated steel plant Tata Steel.
Later, the minister gave away the Steel Minister's Trophies to Viashakhapatnam steel Plant of RINL and Bhillai Steel Plant of SAIL for the year 2009-10 and 2008-09 respectively.
He also distributed the NMD awards among metallurgists for their outstanding contribution in their respective fields.
Verma commissioned Tata Steel's new Coke Oven Battery no.10 and By-Product Plant at its Jamshedpur facility.
Built at a capacity of 0.7 million tonnes per annum, this is part of Tata Steel's ambitious 9.7 MTPA expansion project in Jamshedpur.
The Coke Oven Battery no. 10 and the By-Product Plant would go into full production in the month of December 2012.
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