New Delhi: Government's think tank Niti Aayog has formed an inter-ministerial committee, which will submit a report on the need to shift from exporting iron ore to its value-added products in a bid to boost India's manufacturing capabilities.
The panel, headed by Steel Secretary Aruna Sundararajan, was set up last month and comprises senior officials from the Coal Ministry, state governments of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, miner NMDC and other stakeholders, a source said.
The think tank raised the issue of iron ore being exported at a price, which is "substantially lower" than the rate at which it is available for domestic industry, the source added.
Confirming the development, a senior government official said Niti Aayog stressed extraction of minerals should benefit the development of a robust value addition industry, through strengthening of manufacturing sector.
Developing strong value-added products industry will strengthen manufacturing sector in the country, which will not only create jobs and bring in more foreign exchange , but will also give a boost to 'Make in India' initiative, he added.
"Aayog has asked the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to prepare an approach paper on the need to shift from export of iron ore to export of value added goods. The report from the IMC is expected this month," he said.
India exported ores and minerals worth Rs 1.78 lakh crore in 2014-15, a decline of 8.58 percent from 2013-14.
Diamond continued to be the largest constituent item with a share of 83.17 percent followed by granite (5.52 percent), alumina (1.85 per cent) and iron ore (1.80 percent).
India, which accounts for about 4 percent of the global production, exported around 7,491 tonnes of iron ore worth Rs 3,212 crore in 2014-15, while it imported 12,093 tonnes worth about Rs 6,595 crore during the same period.
Haematite and magnetite are the most important iron ores in India. About 60 percent of the haematite ore deposits are found in eastern sector, especially in Odisha and Jharkhand.
While, about 92 percent magnetite ore deposits occur in southern sector, especially in Karnataka.
Around 98 percent of the iron ore is consumed in iron and steel industry (including sponge iron). The remaining is consumed in alloy steel, ferro-alloys and cement etc.