Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Union Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday maintained that India may continue to be a net steel importer this fiscal in the wake of a huge mismatch in demand and supply.

Briefing newspersons on the deliberations at the 22nd Steel Consumer Council meeting here, Mr. Paswan said: “Whereas the demand for steel continues to be at around 11.2 per cent, production growth in the first half of the year has been only 5.2 per cent.” Steel imports have soared by 50 per cent to about three million tonnes during April-September this fiscal as compared to the same period in 2007-08. To meet the growing demand, the Government, he said, envisaged a total production of 124 million tonnes. This, however, excludes the additional capacities proposed by Posco and ArcelorMittal.