An economy’s mettle can be tested by its consumption of steel. Remember how during the recession of 2008, steel consumption in major global economies dropped by as much as 50 per cent? In India there are definitive signs that steel consumption is set to take a significant leap forward. Even though at 60 kg per capita consumption India lags well behind the world average of 217 kg, the steel economy is poised for a turnaround. A clear road map is in place to take current Indian steel production from about 90 million tonnes to 300 MT by 2025. In the next 10 years, India is expected to become the world’s second largest producer of crude steel by overtaking Japan. This growth will be driven by planned budgetary support in infra-expenditure projects like railways, highways, airports and housing. With large numbers of people moving from rural to urban areas, the demand for steel will go up. Besides, Make in India projects, and increased automobile manufacturing, should give a boost to steel production and consumption. All these should augur well for the Indian economy.
What is equally important is the steely resolve of our leadership to make things happen. On our cover is the man who is presiding over the policies that India is shaping to steal a march in the world economy. Union Minister for Steel and Mines, Mr Narendra Singh Tomar, is tasked with setting the agenda for sustained growth in steel production. While he himself has a clear road map in mind, he does not hesitate to laud Prime Minister Modi’s vision for the Indian steel sector. The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), one of India’s 7 Maharatna public sector undertakings, has undertaken the expansion of five integrated steel plants. Mr Tomar’s ministry is facilitating the setting up of an industry-driven Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI) in association with public and private sector steel companies to spearhead research and development activities.