New Delhi: Amid mega steel projects stuck on various counts and new investments eluding the sector, an inter-ministerial panel is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to iron out issues impeding sector's growth.
"An Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG), headed by Steel Secretary D R S Choudhary is likely to review the steel projects and address issues concerning the sector on July 17," said a Steel Ministry official.
A high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this month set a target of trebling country's steel production capacity to 300 MT by 2025 so as to boost the manufacturing sector and achieve 8-9 percent GDP growth.
IMG will review the status of major steel investment projects and address issues such as delays in environment and forest clearances as well as mining leases, availability of iron ore, coal linkages and problems of land acquisition.
The Steel Ministry is concerned that delays in projects would result in India failing to meet the projected demand of 145 million tonnes (MT) by 2015-16.
One of the major concerns for the ministry is that if capacity addition is delayed, India - the cheapest producer of steel in the world - will have to import 50 MT of steel in the next few years.
The demand for steel in India, as per estimates, has crossed 110 MT and would further grow to 200 MT by 2020 and 500 MT by 2050.
Representatives from key infrastructure ministries like Road, Power, Coal, Shipping and Mines would participate in the meeting, besides major public and private sector steel players such as ArcelorMittal, POSCO, SAIL, Tata Steel, RINL, Jindal Steel, NMDC and Bhushan Steel among others, the official said.
Mega projects, including those proposed by ArcelorMittal and Posco - involving investments of Rs 1.8 lakh crore - have remained non-starters for 6-7 years on account of the hurdles as well as opposition from local people.
India is 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.