New Delhi: The Steel Ministry approved as many as 83 R&D projects worth Rs 696.27 crore in 2014-15 as it aims to expand the industry's product portfolio and help it maintain long-term sustainability.
The government is encouraging public sector undertakings and private firms in the steel sector to work on research and development (R&D) projects, particularly on problems relating to utilisation of low grade ore and high ash coal, a senior official said.
Besides, thrust is also being given to develop more value added products for which the country is mostly dependent on imports, the official added.
To promote R&D in steel, the government constituted an Empowered Committee (EC) under Steel Secretary for approval and monitoring of R&D projects, another official said.
EC has met 24 times during the fiscal and approved 83 R&D projects amounting to Rs 696.27 crore with Steel Development Fund (SDF) assistance of Rs 389.63 crore, he added.
Out of the 83 R&D projects, 47 projects have completed, 11 projects were stopped following mid-term review and 25 projects are in various stages of progress, the official said.
The government has also issued an advisory to the large steel firm for setting up R&D and enhance R&D investment up to 1 per cent of their sales turnover.
Besides, Steel Ministry is facilitating for setting up of Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI) and is contributing 50 per cent in the corpus.
In-principle nod for setting up of SRTMI has been given and CEOs of major Indian steel firms have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Steel Ministry for participation and financial contribution in the initiative with an initial corpus of Rs 200 crore.