Modernizing and Expanding Steel Industry Horizons
How would you define the last 48 Months of Transforming India under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi with regards to scale, speed and innovation?
The last 48 months of Transforming India has been unparalleled. The various schemes and intiatives undertaken by the government and their positive impact are testimony to government’s social and economic policies. Talking of scale, the mere number of schemes and beneficiaries is huge. Aadhaar is world’s largest biometric database project. Hon’ble Prime Minister inaugurated India’s longest road tunnels and longest Bridges, some of which are biggest in Asia too. There are largest solar panels. I can keep adding more examples. The main point is that we do everything big and huge.
Speed is visible in each and every policy decision and initiative of our Government. Speed of road construction, LPG connection distribution, village electrification, power generation and so on are just few examples..
As for innovation, last four years have been trendsetting in terms of innovation in governance. Demonetisation, GST, Jan-dhan Scheme, Atal Pension Yojana, Mudra Yojna, Farmer Welfare Schemes are just a few of such innovative reforms which have transformed India.
What are the most impactful initiatives and schemes of the Ministry/Ministries led by you?
Any country’s economic growth is closely linked to the growth of its steel industry. Steel plays a pivotal role in the development of a modern economy and consumption of steel is widely taken to be an indicator of economic development.
“National Steel Policy 2017” and the Policy for preference to “Domestically Manufactured Iron & Steel Products” are path-breaking initiatives.
The ‘Secondary Steel Producers’ award has been instituted which is a first-of-its-kind award. Furthermore, the #myLOVESTEELidea content was organised to invite fresh business ideas for innovative use of steel and an influx of winning entries from differenet parts of the country highlighted the interest of people in sharing ideas of using steel for developmental needs and contribute to country’s growth.
Ministry of Steel is committed to improving the quality of steel and steel products and ensuring better health & safety standards for end-users. With more than 80 % of steel products now covered under Quality orders, we are moving towards towards 100% Quality regime in the steel sector.
MSTC, our PSU has introduced the Metal Mandi portal and e-Rakam, which brought in transparency in the auctioning process and proposed the setting up a an auto-shredding plant aimed at promoting steel recycling and contribute to the environment. Steel from SAIL and RINL has been used in several projects of national importance,.
Modernisation and expansion of steel plants have been one of the key focus areas. NMDC will be coming up with its new Greenfield steel plant in 2018-19. All this was key in making India the world’s second-largest producer of steel in first three months of 2018.
How would you measure the success and reach of these initiatives and schemes?
One of the very important schemes is Promotion of Research & Development in Iron & Steel sector””. This scheme has reached to several R&D, academia and laboratories engaged in the area for of research in iron & steel sector. So far 26 R&D projects costing of Rs 220.89 crore have been approved by M/o Steel. The projects completed so far are being tried for scaling up.
One of the path breaking initiatives of the Ministry of Steel is setting up of Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI) for promotion of joint collaborative R&D projects, Skill development, Training, Market Development and Information, Education and Communication (IEC).
When you assumed office, what were the key challenges faced in the sector relevant to the Ministry/Ministries led by you? How did you overcome those challenges and achieve the goal of last mile delivery of governance?
The major challenges were to increase production of steel, its capacity and per capita consumption. India at present is the 2nd largest in the world. The per capita consumption has also increased to 68 kgs from the level of 58 kg in the year of 2013-14.
You must have met with many citizens across the country who have largely benefited from the initiatives taken up by Ministry/Ministries led by you…. Could you detail some of the memorable experiences and untold stories shared by citizens?
SAIL Bhilai steel plant started making the longest rail. One employee of Bhilai steel plant came to me and said that the present Government is making big bridges, tunnels, wide roads, etc. All of us at Bhilai are very proud that our Chhattisgarh state is now making the world’s longest rail, which is a big achievement for us.
One employee from Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association (SIMA) came to me and said that what this Government is doing for Small & Medium Enterprises was never done in the past. He thanked Modi Government and Ministry of Steel for thinking and acting on issues & concerns of small steel producers.
I can still clearly recall an incident during a tour of my parliamentary area. I reached a village and this incident is of that time when our Government had provided free gas connections to that village through the Ujjawala scheme. I had organised an assembly through which I was meeting people when a lady, of around fifty years in age, came to me and said in a very emotional voice, “I pray to God that you and your Government rule over this nation for ages.” She even said that after getting the LPG gas connections, her life has completely changed. Her old cough problem has also completely gone and the labour that she had to put in for collecting wood for cooking is no longer required, she has also got rid of it.