Making steel the backbone of Indian economy
Steel, which is considered to be the backbone of human civilization, is crucial to the development of any modern economy. The level of per capita consumption of steel is treated as an important index of socio-economic development and living standards of the people in any country. All major industrial economies are characterized by the existence of a strong steel industry and the growth of many of them has been largely shaped by the strength of their steel industries in their initial stages of development.
India’s economic growth is contingent upon the growth of its steel industry. The consumption of steel in any country is taken to be an indicator of its economic development. While steel continues to have a stronghold in traditional sectors such as construction, housing and ground transportation, special steels are increasingly being used in engineering industries such as power generation, automobile, petrochemicals and fertilizers. India occupies a central position on the global steel map, with the establishment of new state-of-the-art steel mills, the acquisition of global scale capacities by players, continuous modernization and upgradation of older plants, improvement of energy efficiency and backward integration into global raw material sources.
Though the metal work of exceptional quality has been part of India’s history as is evident from the Ashoka Pillar which has not rusted till date despite being over a thousand years old, the present Indian steel industry is crippled by several factors like insufficient production and lack of research.
To address these issues, the Steel Ministry is taking several initiatives to nurture the industry and enhance its efficiency so that it may become globally competitive.
Our Cover Story in this edition describes how the Steel Ministry under the able and pragmatic leadership of Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh and Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma is leading the sector to a fast-paced growth and striving to give it a massive makeover.
India is currently the world's fourth largest producer of crude steel and is expected to become the second largest producer by 2020. Data suggests that with the Indian economy poised for its next wave of growth owing to various ambitious projects like the Make in India and Smart Cities launched by the Narendra Modi Government, there lies tremendous opportunity for the Indian steel industry to prosper and grow exponentially.
India plays an important role in the global steel market, but its importance will be sustainable only if the country keeps pace with international trends and quality standards while ensuring consumer protection. By being competitive, the steel industry will not only do justice to its consumer, but will also be a bigger foreign exchange earner for the country by exporting more.
Research and Development should be a vital component of India’s business strategy for sustained cost competitiveness and there is a need to explore alternatives and replace existing steel making technologies that increase operating costs.