While India’s recent growth has helped propel sales and exports of steel, the federal government here wants to maximize returns by creating a favorable atmosphere for research and development.
As many as seven steel majors joined hands with the Ministry of Steel on Wednesday to set up a Steel Research and Technology Mission (SRTMI) in the Indian capital of New Delhi. The Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL), Tata Steel, JSW Steel, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd., Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd., the National Mine Development Corporation and MECON Ltd. are the first to join the project that many analysts say marks the start of a new chapter in steel research and development in India.
The government is considering introducing a bill in Parliament in the next session for the creation of an educational institute under the Ministry of Steel, on the pattern of India’s famous Indian Institutes of Technology, where students are able to formally learn and undertake research programs on steel.
The institute may offer graduate, post-graduate, doctoral and research programs. This is line with the recommendations of a ministerial committee instituted in 2014 that recommended such an institute to ensure a stream of knowledge workers for the domestic steel industry.
The planned outcome of these efforts goes beyond the quality of finished steel, too. The initiative is being taken, also, to find innovative uses for steel and create entire new fields of employment for India’s youth.
Investment in Research
Speaking at the signing ceremony involving the seven steel majors in SRTMI, Steel Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the joint initiative of the steel industry and the government would also help it play a major role in new employment.
This industry-led initiative will promote collaborative research programs in the steel sector and aims to increase investment in research and development in the steel sector from the present level of 0.2-0.3% of turnover, progressively toward the international benchmark of 1-2% turnover.
The initial approximately $32 million (about Rs 200 crore) for the creation of the SRTMI will come in equal contribution from the Steel Development Fund of the Ministry and the participating companies.