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Kalam urges steel industry to focus on value-addition

Ambar Singh Roy

Jamshedpur , Feb. 13

THE President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, on Friday urged the steel industry to focus on value-addition with a view to ensuring optimal utilisation of resources and higher realisations.

Speaking at a function held here to mark 75 years of industrial harmony at Tata Steel, Dr Kalam said India is among the largest producers of iron ore in the world. As much as 30 million tonnes of iron ore is exported from here. The need of the hour is to produce more steel because "steel is the foundation for the growth of a nation".

He said that, for India to become a developed nation, the industry has to be cost-effective, quality-conscious and stick to just-in-time delivery schedules. "Competitiveness is the final determinant between a developing nation and a developed one", he said, adding that the domestic industry must be globally competitive to facilitate India's transition from a developing country to a developed one by 2020.

According to him, the basic fabric of Indian society, including industry, will undergo a change in the next 10 years. Management will depend "more on delegation rather than directions". Workers' skills will become "less structured and more flexible, more software-driven instead of just hardware-driven". The economy will become knowledge-driven instead of industry-driven and the society will focus on empowerment instead of just the fulfilment of basic needs.

Describing 75 years of industrial harmony at Tata Steel as "an important milestone" for the Indian industry, Dr Kalam said the achievement is the result of a "combination of technology, leadership, knowledge and an inspired workforce".

He called upon the Tatas to create a cluster of ancillary industries in and around Jamshedpur with a view to facilitating generation of employment, among other things.

Speaking on the occasion, the Governor of Jharkhand, Mr Ved Marwah, said that the State, which has 40 per cent of the country's mineral resources, has the potential to emerge as the most industrially-developed state in India. However, for that to happen, "management should not exploit labour and management should not be harassed by Government functionaries".

The West Bengal Governor, Mr Viren J. Shah, who was present on the occasion, described the event as an "example before the entire world".

The Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Mr Arjun Munda, spoke of the need to develop a culture of entrepreneurship in the State. According to him, it is imperative to boost the rural economy by setting up village-based units. However, the concern for the environment cannot be overlooked in the march towards industrialisation.

Dr J.J. Irani, Director of Tata Sons and a former Managing Director of Tata Steel, said the Tata Group has set up around 18 companies in Jamshedpur and created about 2.5 lakh jobs. This has helped generation of wealth for all concerned.

The Managing Director of Tata Steel, Mr B. Muthuraman, spoke of the "robust bond" between the management and trade union leaders here. Others who spoke on the occasion were Mr R.B.B. Singh, President of Tata Workers' Union, and Mr Sanjeeva Reddy, President of the Indian National Trade Union Congress.

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