Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday asked all sectors to step up production to ensure non-inflationary growth.
“We expect the economy to grow at around 9 per cent per year during the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period. To ensure that this growth process is not inflationary, we must step up productivity and increase output,” Singh said while laying the foundation stone for Steel Authority of India Ltd’s modernisation and expansion plan at its Salem steel plant.
The Prime Minister assured industries like steel where quasi regulatory actions have been taken in the recent past, that attempts were being made to ensure that these steps did not hurt the growth momentum of the last four years.
“Because of a steep increase in international prices of petroleum products and primary commodities, inflation and its control have emerged as major concerns for policy makers. In so doing, we have also tried to ensure that inflation control measures do not hurt the growth momentum we have built up during the last four years,” he said.
“Our per capita consumption of steel is still very low in comparison to other industrial and industrialising countries. Yet, we are in a seller’s market and will continue to be so. Hence it is more imperative that we augment supply and meet the rising demand for steel,” he added.
On the back of global crude oil prices breaching the $110-per-barrel mark coupled with an over 50 per cent increase in the prices of primary steel during the last four months, inflation reached double digits a couple of months back. However, steps like steel price control and rise in interest rates have seen inflation going down marginally over the last fortnight.
Steel Minister Ramvilas Paswan also expressed hope that domestic steel prices will see a downward revision soon on the back of softening of global prices in the last two weeks. “Prices of steel had shown an upward trend in the international market, mainly on account of a demand supply mismatch but now steel prices internationally have started showing a downward trend ," Paswan said.