Timely completion of expansion programmes of state-run Steel Authority of India Ltd and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd would be the key priority, new Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh said on Friday after taking charge.
Singh said that while the capacity of SAIL will go upto 26 million tonnes, RINL will reach a capacity of 6 million tonnes after the current expansion plans are completed by 2011-12.
“Both these expansion programmes would involve an expenditure of over Rs 70,000 crore,” he said.
The steel sector has been hit hard by the current slowdown with steel prices falling by almost 50 per cent in the second half of last fiscal but Singh said that only India and China have managed to record growth during the first quarter of the current calendar year even as the sector globally has contracted by 23 per cent during the same period.
With steel projects by overseas giants like Posco and Arcelor Mittal stalled by problems in land and mineral resource allocation, Singh said his priority was also on that side. "Another focus area would be to bring in a rational seamless and transparent regime for allocation of raw material resources to existing and prospective steel producers," he said.