‘Ease of doing biz’ is not ‘ease of making money’: Steel minister

Union steel minister Chaudhary Birender Singh.

Steel minister Chaudhary Birender Singh on Tuesday said India needs to raise per capita consumption of the commodity, while asking the industry to play ethical by differentiating between ‘ease of doing business’ and ‘ease of making money’.

It is not just the duty of the government or the steel ministry in specific, each one has a role to play, he said at KATM conference on raw materials for steel and power here.

He was speaking on the key role society has to play with regard to various issues be it increasing steel consumption or protecting the domestic steel industry.

Singh said: “When there was dumping in our country, many of the producers of steel became traders. Is it fair on the part of a man who…has the responsibility to produce… Why? because there is a possibility that without doing anything you can make easy money.”

‘Ease of doing business’ is very different from ‘ease of making money’. Each one has a role to play, he said.

India has the potential to equal the world average per capita steel consumption. At present, the world per capita steel consumption is 208 kg and that can be achieved in India, Singh said.

The National Steel Policy aims more than doubling the per capita steel consumption to 158 Kg by 2030-31, from 61 kg at present.

The steel consumption in the country will increase with the improvement in lifestyle and development of infrastructure in housing, he said.

“Steel consumption can grow only when we will improve our lifestyle, living standard. Everybody wants a better life, house and in it I expect 70% steel and 30% rest of the items…,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken it as a challenge that everyone has a roof, he said.

Singh further said that there was a ‘socio-economic caste census’ survey, showing there is a requirement of 5 crore houses. The government has a mission to complete it by 2022, he said.

“We also want round the clock electricity, clean drinking water, best education for children and health-care for everyone.

“I do agree that if this kind of infrastructure is made available…then of course the consumption would be on the same level which one can think in any of the developed country,” he said.

Talking about the approach of the common man, the minister said he thinks that these things will be created or made available by the government may be the state government or the Centre.

He further asked the industry to make full use if the resources available in the country.

India has surplus power, iron ore reserve which will last for at least next 30 years. Besides that re-cycling is one area that can reduce the demand for iron ore and coal for steel making.

Scraps can also bring down our demand for raw material for steel making and is of best grade. At present, 8 MT scrap is imported, he said.

These steps will save 30-35% of country’s forex exchange, he added.

The Finance Ministry recently imposed countervailing duty (CVD) on imports of certain flat steel products from China.

The decision to impose the duty was taken by the finance ministry after the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) found that despite sufficient demand in India and capacities, the domestic industry has lost sales opportunities, which is a direct consequence of subsidised imports from China.





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