Union Steel Ministry To Set Up Safety Directorate
Union Ministry of Steel, Government of India held its Consultative Committee meeting in Goa. The meeting chaired by the Hon’ble Minister of Steel Shri Chaudhary Birender Singh discussed the issues of i) Mining activities of CPSEs under Steel ministry and ii) Safety in Steel Plants. Addressing media persons after the meeting the Minister said safety is an important aspect in the functioning of any industry. Iron and Steel production being a complex and hazardous activity, needs to prevent injuries and accidents, provide a healthy working environment and guard against all possible hazards and risks to be adequately recognized and taken care of. He said in view of this it has been decided to to set up a Safety Directorate which will soon become operational. This directorate shall oversee the safety standards in the Steel industry. The minister said safety is and will always be our top priority. He said both its CPSEs - Steel Authority of India Limited and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam limited(RINL) have comprehensive safety policies. On mining, the Minister said that by 2020, a large number of the mining leases shall expire, which the ministry has taken cognizance of and is serious in tackling it. Apart from this, the mining activity of Orissa Minerals Development Company Limited (OMDC), a CPSE of Steel Ministry, is closed for some time and efforts are also on to make the mines operational. He said that the National Steel Policy 2017 envisages steel capacity of 300 Million Tonne (MT) which will get hampered if mining activities are not smooth. The minister also stressed that besides the existing mines, there is a need to focus on the exploration of new mines. Shri Singh said that the production of steel has also increased in the year 2018 making India the second largest producer of steel in the world leaving behind Japan and the USA. Shri Singh said that when we compare our per capita consumption of steel vis-a-vis the world consumption level which is 214 kg per capita we have still a long way to go. He said before 2014, India’s per capita consumption of steel was 57 kg which has now increased to 69 kg per capita.
He said that when National Steel Policy was introduced in the year 2017, the same year we introduced Policy for Domestically Manufactured Iron and Steel products. Under this policy for any project in the country, the tender would make a mention that steel available and produced in India would be given preference. This has given impetus to the Make in India programme of the government and has also resulted in savings of around Rs 8,000 crore till date. The Minister further added that a National Scrap Policy is also being worked out which will be out in a couple of months. This will make available nearly 7 MT scrap in the country. Presently the requirement of scrap is around 8.3 MT and most of it are met out of scrap imports. He said that steel produced out of scrap is of good quality and it saves on the environment as well. Chaudhary Birender Singh said that SAIL, the steel CPSU has made a turnaround in last two and half years. After suffering losses for ten consecutive quarters SAIL has earned a profit of around Rs. 2000 crores during the last three quarters.