By Nirmalya Deb

Setting the context with the dominant theme of India’s rapid infrastructure development and the need as well as potential for augmenting steel usage in the country, Minister of Steel and Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan chaired a webinar on ‘Ispati Irada: Enhancing steel usage with focus on construction and infrastructure sectors” on June 30, 2020.

Minister of State for Steel Faggan Singh Kulaste along with Secretary, Ministry of Steel, senior officers from the ministry, experts, industry leaders, researchers, prominent steel users and regulators participated in the webinar, which was organized by the Ministry of Steel.

Underlining the fact that the performance of the steel industry is a vital index of overall economic growth, Pradhan said that the industry plays a pivotal role, being the second largest in the world, and has enough capacity to manufacture quality products. However, per capita consumption of steel in India is almost one-third of the global average.

Pointing to the ministry’s steely resolve of stimulating steel demand in the country, Pradhan said: “Ispat is not just a material, it is a state of mind. India has an ‘Ispati Irada’ to be an inclusive developed nation.”
‘Ispati Irada’ has the objective of promoting appropriate steel usage in the country, and aims to leverage steel as an easy-to-use, environment-friendly, cost-effective, affordable and strong and durable material.”

Emphasising the need for steel-intensive construction, the minister said India has been investing big time in scaling up infrastructure for the future across sectors like railways, roads, civil aviation and energy, which will further provide impetus to steel consumption in the country.

Notably, he informed that a working group will be set up to regularly monitor the steps being taken to enhance steel usage.

Seconding Pradhan, Kulaste said that there is wide scope for enhancing consumption of steel, particularly in the rural areas where per capita consumption is almost a quarter of the national average.
The government’s INR 103 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline will boost steel demand, he said, adding that the ministry is already in talks with various departments to foster steel usage.
Citing Japan’s example, Kulaste said the earthquake-prone nation uses up to 80% steel in buildings and structures, as steel provides strength and stability. He urged the industry to find ways to reduce the cost of steel construction.