Concerned over delays in new projects due to requirement of clearances from multiple agencies, the draft steel policy has proposed an online single e-window system and sought enhancement of powers of the existing Inter-Ministerial Group, among other issues.
“To overcome these constraints, the government will consider introduction of a transparent and easy system for submission and tracking of status of applications for grant of resources/clearances from multiple governmental agencies through an online single e-window in consonance with national e-governance plan,” the draft national steel policy said.
The new policy assumes significance as steel projects, including those planned by ArcelorMittal, Posco and many others, worth around Rs 3 lakh crore could not take off because of various issues such as land acquisition and delay in environmental clearances, among others.
The draft policy has identified involvement of a large number of agencies in project clearances as a major hurdle in “creation of green field steel capacities.”
It termed “strong social resistance to land acquisition and conversion of agricultural land to industrial land even at adequate offer of monetary compensation and securitisation of employment of the displaced directly or indirectly” as another major hurdle.
Suggesting enhancement of the powers of the existing Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) for more effective coordination to cut delays in project implementation and resolution of conflicts, it expressed hope that the new land Acquisition Act, R&R Policy and provisions of the proposed MMDR Act will address the issues soon.
The policy said that “there is a need to eliminate potential conflicts arising out of the various policy documents so that transparency is brought about in every aspect of the policy framework” and assured that the government will take appropriate steps in this direction.
At the same time, it has suggested the need for proper identification of project sites/areas to balance requirements of business, society and service providers saying “many steel projects have not taken off due to conflicting interests of various stake-holders.”
The draft policy has pegged the country’s steel making capacity at 300 million tonnes (MT) by 2025-26 to ensure a projected production level of 275 million tonnes by then.
The Steel Ministry has sought comments from stakeholders and the public by February 20.
The policy seeks to replace the existing one that was formulated in 2005, and suggest ways to create an environment conducive for the growth of the industry that is plagued by issues such as land acquisition and raw material scarcity.