India's steel industry has come out of the stress, with the exports going up by 57 per cent and imports declining by 34 per cent, the government told the Rajya Sabha today.
Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said the country's steel output is at around 120 million tonnes and the government is aiming to achieve 300 million tonnes by 2030.
"There was recession in global steel sector and it had an impact on India as well. Our steel industry was in stress for more than three years. But the situation has changed in last six months," he said.
In the last six months, steel output has gone up by 15 lakh tonnes and exports have shot up by 57 per cent while imports have down by 34 per cent, he added. He said modernisation and expansion work of steel PSUs -- SAIL and RINL -- is expected to be completed by December this year and the renovated plants would be able to achieve 70 per cent capacity utilisation in the next six months. On modernisation of steel PSUs, the minister said more than Rs 61,500 crore has been invested for expansion and modernisation of SAIL.
"Barring Bhilai, modernisation and expansion work is still going on. It is likely to be completed by December," Singh said. Some plants functioning after modernisation are able to achieve 40 per cent of the capacity utlisation, while some up to 70 per cent. "It takes time to ramp up production be it in Bhilai, Rourkela or Bokaro.
It takes 2-3 years for complete ramp up. I am hopeful that in the next six months, we will be able to achieve 70 per cent capacity utlisation," he noted. Stressing on improving plant efficiency, the minister said India lags behind when compared to the global standards.
While the global efficiency standard is 3 points, Indian PSUs stand at 1.70 and private steel companies at 2.1. He also said that the country is not behind in producing high-end steel used in many sectors like defence.
The government has allowed import of technology and equipment freely with an aim of promoting transfer and adoption of latest technologies to facilitate production of value-added and high quality steel products at competitive costs, he added.