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Steel alliance urges Govt to adopt long-term policy framework

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Oct. 21

THE Indian Steel Alliance (ISA) has urged the Government to adopt a comprehensive long-term policy framework for the overall development of the domestic steel industry.

In a presentation made to the Planning Commission, the ISA urged the Commission to adopt a conducive fiscal policy that will help the industry to become competitive globally.

The ISA currently comprises four primary steel manufacturers — Steel Authority of India Ltd, Essar Steel, Ispat Industries and Jindal Vijaynagar Steels Ltd. The largest private sector steel manufacturer - Tata Steel - has recently quit the association.

It was also pointed out that for development of the steel sector, large-scale investments would also be required in mining, refractories, infrastructure, technology and education and training of personnel.

The recommendations made by the steel body include rationalisation of excise and other duties so that consumption of steel increases. It also urged for rationalisation of import duties for various inputs used in manufacturing steel.

Urging for "reasonable tariff protection" against international competition in the domestic market, the steel manufacturers' forum urged for continuation of the low interest regime as the interest paid by Indian companies for domestic loans is almost double of what other steel makers pay in other parts of the world. To take advantage of the low interest debts available in the international market, the ISA also urged for removing restrictions on the end use of external commercial borrowings so that they may be used for retiring high-cost domestic debts.

The ISA also asked the Planning Commission to focus on increasing rural consumption. It also suggested reduction in iron ore exports in a phased manner.

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