New Delhi, 13 November 2014: The Union Minister of Steel & Mines Narendra Singh Tomar underscored the importance of sprucing up Research & Development (R&D) work in the iron and steel industry. Addressing the inaugural session of 8th India Steel Summit organized by ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) here today, he said that Better R&D means better resource utilization, better cost efficiency, better products and world-class exports. Tomar informed the gathering that the ministry has taken a decision to set up a forum for Research & Development in steel sector with proposed initial corpus of Rs 100 crore from Steel Development Fund (SDF).
Expressing concern over the shortage of iron ore for several domestic producers, Tomar said, “Iron ore production has fallen from the level of 218 million tonne (MT) to around 150 MT owing to various reasons. In line with the recommendations of Supreme Court and the Shah Commission, we have revised mining guidelines in the country to make the process more transparent and efficient.” Tomar also stressed upon the need to beneficiate raw materials to optimize natural resources.
Comparing India’s per capita average consumption of steel at 60 kg with the global average of 215 kg, Tomar expressed confidence in the growth potential of domestic steel industry, despite tough market conditions. He urged steelmakers to take a holistic view of this industry, considering the employment potential inherent in it, owing to forward and backward linkages.
It’s noteworthy that on October 20, 2014, the Minister had accorded in-principle approval for setting up Steel Research & Technology Mission of India (SRTMI), in line with the Prime Minister’s vision ‘Make in India’. The mission envisages to increase R&D investment from the present level of 0.2-0.3 % of turnover to international benchmark of 1-2 % of turnover by the leading companies.