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The steel sector is witnessing growth in the recent past after a slowdown, with India becoming a net exporter in the current financial year, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday. During the Question Hour, he said steel is a deregulated sector where market forces and commercial considerations decide construction and location of new steel plants. He was responding to a query on whether the government proposes to set up new steel plants in Haryana.
According to him, India has become a net exporter of steel in the current year. "The import of steel has increased marginally in the last three years from 7.23 million tonnes in 2016-17 to 7.83 million tonnes in 2018-19," he said. Noting that domestic production has consistently increased regardless of such imports, Pradhan said in the current year, the country is a net exporter. "To counter import of cheap steel, anti-dumping duties have been imposed on various grades of steel which were dumped into the country. "Import of steel grades which are not manufactured in adequate quantity in the country is essential for supporting manufacturing sector," he noted.
Pradhan also said the production of iron ore in the country is sufficient to meet the current demand and consumption by the domestic industry. "The supply of iron ore during last year i.e. 2018-19 was 207.7 MT against its demand of 189 MT," he said. The minister said the steel sector is "witnessing improvement in recent past after a slow down. Demands for steel products have been increasing". The entire demand of coking coal is not met from domestic production as its supply is limited and thus no option is left but to resort to import of coking coal, he said.
Pradhan said during 2018-19, the total demand of coking coal for steel industry was 58.37 MT and out of this, 54.80 MT were through imports and 1.6 MT was provided by the Bharat Coking Coal Limited and remaining 1.97 MT was catered by the SAIL and Tata Steel. The minister said the number of steel industries in the country in 2018-19 stood at 1,217. Responding to supplementaries, the minister said there is a plan to set up a green field steel plant by RINL in Visakhapatnam with an international player.