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`Tap domestic market fully'

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"The Indian steel industry has no option but to be cost-effective and globally competitive — we have to prepare ourselves to face a competitive and challenging world."

KOLKATA, Jan. 31

THE Union Steel Minister, Mr B.K. Tripathy, has said that it was time for the steel industry to consolidate the gains of this fiscal, while looking inwards at its vast domestic market which still needs to be explored optimally.

Delivering his address at the two-day International Steel Seminar 2003 here, he said it was in the sphere of cost reduction that the importance of new products and new technology stand. The seminar was organised by Steel Scenario.

Pointing out that the development of new markets required attention, he said that while the Government was trying its best to generate rural demand, the steel majors such as Tata Steel and SAIL had also taken a lead in this direction. However, much more remains to be done, the Minister added.

Steel producers should seize the opportunity presented by the resurgence in demand to put themselves back on track and continuously modernise and upgrade technologies so as to reduce production cost. "The Indian steel industry has no option but to be cost-effective and globally competitive — we have to prepare ourselves to face a competitive and challenging world," he said.

He, however, regretted that although his Ministry was providing financial assistance to encourage indigenous research in the iron and steel sector, it was unfortunate that the number and the quality of proposals received were unsatisfactory.

Mr J.P. Singh, Development Commissioner, Iron and Steel, said that the industry should utilise the boom period for planning and stabilising itself.

Dr A. Ameling of the German Iron and Steel Institute said that product innovation through introduction of light-weight construction materials and increasing productivity through management innovation was important. He added that the US imports had not decreased despite the introduction of tariff barriers up to 30 per cent.

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