India has slipped to the fifth position in terms of global steel production with a 32.5 million tonnes output in the first six months of this year, Lok Sabha was informed on Thursday.
In 2009, the country occupied the third rank in global steel production with 62.8 million tonnes (MT) output whereas China topped the list with 567.8 MT. Japan secured the second place with 87.5 MT production, as per the World Steel Association (WSA).
"As per provisional data released by WSA, India is the fifth largest producer of crude steel during January-June 2010," Minister of State for Steel A Sai Prathap told the Lower House replying to a query that whether India's steel production has come down.
China with 323 MT production during January-June period continued to occupy the top slot of global steel producers, followed by Japan recording 54.6 MT, Prathap said.
The US and Russia superceded India during the first half of the year occupying third and fourth positions with 41 MT and 32.6 MT production, respectively during the first half of the year, he added.
Prathap, however, said the government is encouraging steel production through sustainable promising measures.
"As per the latest estimates, the crude steel capacity in the country is likely to reach 120 MT by 2012 from 72.9 MT in 2009-10," the Minister said.
The fall in the country's output is said to be on account of a dip in demand and prices of steel in the wake of global economic crisis and a gloomy global steel scenario.
Prathap said massive -- about Rs 98,000 crore -- capacity expansion programmes were on by domestic players like Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL).
"SAIL envisages increasing its crude steel production from existing 12.84 MT to 21.40 MT per annum in phase I to be completed by 2012-13 at an estimated cost of Rs 70,000 crore," he said.
RINL is expanding its existing capacity of 2.9 MT of crude steel production to 6.3 MT per annum to be completed by December 2011 at an estimated cost of Rs 12,228 crore, he added.
Another PSU NMDC plans to set up a 3 MT per annum integrated steel plant at Nagarnar, Chhattisgarh at an investment of Rs 15,525 crore, likely to be commissioned by 2014.