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Government sets target of 300 MT capacity for steel production

NEW DELHI: Government today set a target of trebling steel production capacity to 300 million tonne by 2025 amidst Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assertion that boost to manufacturing sector is key to achieving 8-9 per cent growth. 

At a meeting of the High-Level Committee, Singh lamented that manufacturing sector has not performed to its potential and talked about the need to "remedy" this situation by removing the "bottlenecks that hinder our progress". 

The Steel Ministry would prepare a road map with time lines for the above in eight weeks. 

"A Master Plan for achieving 300 mtpa (million tonne per annum) of production would be prepared. As the private sector finds it difficult to assemble land and get clearances, the state would assume a pro-active role in partnership with state governments," a PMO statement said after the meeting attended by ministers of infrastructure ministries. 

The target of 300 million tonne will be a significant jump from the level of 89 million tonne 2011-12 which is projected to go up to 120 million tonne this fiscal. 

The growth of the sector has been hampered by bottlenecks in the form of land acquisition, environmental clearances and local issues. Huge projects like 
POSCO in Odisha andArcelor Mittal in Jharkhand are stuck because of such issues for over a decade. 

The PM-led panel has proposed, in the short-run, pro-active facilitation of pipeline projects on priority basis by the Steel Ministry and the new investment facilitation mechanism in the Cabinet Secretariat. 

It has also asked state-run 
Steel Authority of IndiaBSE -0.52 % (SAIL) to leverage existing infrastructure to expand capacity substantially and work out plans for capacity expansion and production of speciality steels by September-end, the statement said. 

There is also a proposal to create project-specific SPVs for identified sites which would assemble land, get necessary approvals and clearances and tie up water and raw materials.

"The SPV would then be offered in a transparent manner for takeover by investors through a bidding process. The Steel Ministry would prepare a road map with time lines for these in eight weeks," it said. 

India is already the world's fourth largest steel making nation. The Working Group on Steel for 12th Plan has projected that the crude steel capacity in the county is likely to go up to 140 mtpa by 2016-17.