According to data by Joint Plant Committee of the Steel Ministry, imports grew 71 percent to 9.321 million tonnes (MT) in 2014-15 compared to the previous fiscal, with India remaining a net importer in the previous fiscal.
Steel Ministry has brought down the import of steel, an issue that has eroded profitability of the domestic producers, by almost one-fourth in the first eleven months of this fiscal. "Through various measures like import and safeguard duty, minimum import price and quality control order, the ministry has curtailed steel imports by almost one-fourth in April-February period this fiscal," Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told PTI. During last fiscal, imports of the metal had risen by about 71 percent, he added.
The minister said the checks were needed to protect the domestic industry as the global downturn led to countries including China dumping cheap steel in India, which has impacted the sales and profits of the companies. According to data by Joint Plant Committee of the Steel Ministry, imports grew 71 percent to 9.321 million tonnes (MT) in 2014-15 compared to the previous fiscal, with India remaining a net importer in the previous fiscal. Import of steel during the eleven months of the current fiscal grew 20.5 percent to 10.215 MT, while inbound shipment in February 2016 decreased 0.1 percent to 0.91 MT compared to previous month and was down 7.3 percent against February 2015.
This has been four consecutive months of decline in steel imports. However, India remained a net importer of total finished steel in the current fiscal so far. Tomar said to protect the domestic producers, government has imposed a minimum import price in 174 steel products last month.
In July and August last year, the peak customs duty was raised on steel to 15 percent, while anti-dumping duty was imposed on certain grades of steel products during June and December 2015, he added. Besides, a provisional safeguard duty of 20 percent was levied on hot rolled steel coils for a period of six months, Tomar said. Speaking to reporters later, Tomar said India has become the world's third largest steel producer last year leaving behind the US.
"Since May 2014, steel companies, including state-run SAIL and RINL, have added 16 MT of capacity with an investment of around Rs 1 lakh crore," he said. India's steel production rose 7.9 percent to 88.12 MT in 2014-15 fiscal compared with the previous fiscal. On the ongoing first phase of mine auctions, Tomar said out of the 43 blocks offered, six have been auctioned.
"The states will earn a total revenue of Rs 14,855 crore from these six blocks. In the second phase the 12-mineral bearing states will offer about 42 mineral blocks for auction, which will take place in the next fiscal," he added.