New Delhi: Union minister for steel Dharmendra Pradhan Monday said that India will soon become a net exporter of steel. He said in the domestic market, the demand for steel will come from the rural areas.

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Inaugurating the ‘Steeling India-2019: Driving metal intensity in key sectors’, organised by CII here on Monday, Pradhan said,” India will soon become a net steel exporter”. The minister said that the demand for the steel will come from rural India. “Govt. schemes like Har Ghar Jal Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana etc. will drive the consumption of steel in rural areas,” he added.

Pradhan urged industry to research into ways to improve manufacturing efficiency, logistics and reduce cost of production.

The minister said, “Innovation is the new weapon. More than resource abundance, scientific innovation has played a major role in shaping of the new world. Our domestic industry must leverage innovation and new technologies to identify sustainable and cost effective options for steel manufacturing.”

Talking about steel usage in the country, Pradhan, said, “India is a rapidly growing market. Our people have high aspirations and rising purchasing capacity. This offers an unprecedented opportunity for the domestic industry to expand and grow. Our steel per capita consumption which is currently much lower than the global average is set to grow.  We have launched a collaborative campaign ‘Ispati Irada’ to increase appropriate usage of steel. I am glad to see brand ‘Ispati Irada’ being used in this event”.

Speaking about greater efficiency in steel sector the minister said that government is working on facilitating greater cost efficiency, logistical efficiency in the steel sector. He said both our public and private players are involved in developing Syngas plants in eastern India that will help lower cost for domestic steel manufacturing. He further said, “Diversification of our coking coal supplies is also one of our priority areas. For the past few months, we have taken several initiatives and have been working closely with the industry towards diversification of coking coal imports.”

The steel ministry additional secretary Rasika Chaube said that there is a huge potential for increasing steel intensity in key user sectors like housing, infrastructure, automobiles, railways and defence . She also made detailed presentation on increasing usage of steel and efforts and initiatives of the government for increasing this  usage.