First Indian Steel Conclave Touts Indian Steel Sector’s Progress

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It was the first edition of its kind, but it attracted quite an audience.

The International Steel Conclave, organized by the Indian Steel Association and Messe Frankfurt India, was held in the Indian capital of New Delhi on Oct. 25.

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Using the occasion to highlight the Indian government’s rapid strides in the steel sector, Minister Birender Singh said India is poised to achieve its stipulated target of 300 million tons of capacity by 2030. About 150 delegates and speakers, from national and international steel companies — including JSW Group, Tata Steel, JSPL, Steel Authority of India Ltd — were in attendance.

The minister lamented that though India does have good engineers and scientists, the country is not leading vis-à-vis innovation in steel technology. According to Singh, advancements would help reduce the country’s import bill.

Sounding positive on the forward movement of steel in India, Singh noted crude steel production capacity had gone up to 52 million tons, up by 6% from last year. He dubbed 2018 as a “year of new beginnings for the industry.”

India, Singh said, remains optimistic of holding on to its current spot as the No. 2 global producer of steel till the end of this fiscal year.

The U.S. $100 billion Indian steel industry is estimated to grow at a rapid pace because of demand growth from key sectors, such as construction, capital goods, automobiles and consumer goods.

The two-day conclave was divided into many sessions targeting: various aspects of steel use in India; the challenges and opportunities in international steel trade, innovations and technology; and future trends and challenges.

Also addressing the audiences at the event was Naveen Jindal, chairman of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. He laid down a kind of a roadmap for Indian steelmakers, saying in order to achieve steel production targets for 2030, India’s cost competitiveness through labor and iron ore, which are its strengths, should not be diluted.

Much of the attention of the steel producing nations has been on China and then India for the last couple of years.

This was evident not only at the international conclave but also at another recent international event in the province of Odisha. International companies and investors have signed as many as 38 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Indian steel companies worth billions of dollars.

The MoUs were signed at a conclave organized by India’s Ministry of Steel, in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and MECON.

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If these MoUs ultimately transform into concrete projects, they will add significantly to the overall production capacity of India. Those additions would tie in neatly with the stipulated aims of India’s 2017 National Steel Policy, which called for 300 MT of steel capacity in the country by 2030-31 (against the present day capacity of 130 MT).

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