Manufacturing sector in Andhra Pradesh must grow to raise the demand for steel consumption, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited Chairman-cum-Managing Director A.P. Choudhary said on Monday.

He was delivering the keynote address at the one-day AP Steel Conference conducted here by the CII on the theme ‘Managing growth and enhancing competitiveness.’

Expressing concern at declining growth of manufacturing sector and ancilliarisation, he said nothing much had happened in the past four years and called for introspection.

Mr. Choudhary said steel consumption was the barometer of development for any country and commented that of late power had emerged as the main hindrance for growth. He said the demand for flat products had come down compared to long products, which was a matter of grave concern for the steel industry. He said lack of competitiveness was a major issue and suggested incentives to give a push to investments in the small-scale sector. “What we need now is out of box ideas,” he opined.

The CMD said RINL profits were shrinking due to heavy amounts spent on raw material and mentioned how the RINL was the pioneer in adopting clean technologies and waste recycling. The multiple casters of RINL could cater to the need of any big client and mentioned how they were gearing up to foray into seamless tube production.

He said Visakhapatnam Steel Plant would focus on expanding its capacity from 7.3 to 12 million tonne in next phase and finally achieve a capacity of 20 million tonne in next five to seven years.

High-end products

Hindustan Shipyard Limited Chairman-cum-Managing Director Read Admiral N.K. Mishra dwelt on the evolution of steel industry and underlined the need to expand in the Greenfield sector. He said agreements had been signed for several big projects in ore-rich Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand but nothing was happening due to various problems.

He said there was scope to produce non-magnetic steel and other high-end corrosion-proof steel for making hulls of ships, which were being sourced from Russia and Germany.

CII Vizag zone chairman and RINL Director (Commercial) T.K. Chand said India was still recording a modest growth in steel consumption despite global slowdown. Per capita steel consumption which was 10 kg in rural India should be improved substantially to push up demand for steel, he felt.

CII zonal vice-chairman and Sravan Shipping Managing Director G. Sambasiva Rao and Vizag centre head K. Ganeshan also spoke.

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