May outsource study on demand assessment

Ambarish Mukherjee

New Delhi, Oct. 20

The Ministry of Steel will be setting up a steering committee that would be looking into the issues related to import and export of steel, development of domestic market, demand assessment for steel and the overall implementation of the National Steel Policy.

At a meeting between the Ministry, steel manufacturers and steel consumers, it has been decided that committee would comprise major steel manufacturers, secondary steel produces' associations and Ministry officials.

According to sources, the task of assessment of future steel demand is likely to be outsourced once the steering committee is in place.

The names of two organisations, namely the Mckinsey and the National Council for Applied Economic Research, have already been discussed and the steering committee would be deciding on the issue, sources said.

The steering committee would also be taking a view on a proposal for compulsory ISI certification in all steel products and would also be looking into the issues of export and import and related duty structures and incentives.

ISI Certification

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, which is the administrative Ministry for the Bureau of Indian Standards that gives the ISI certification, has proposed that all manufactured steel products must undergo quality test standards set by the BIS and obtain the ISI mark.

While the Ministry's views would be decided only after the steering committee gives its report, the secondary steel industry is opposed to such a move on ground that all steel applications do not require tested steel.

According to the industry, steel used for further value addition may require tested steel but those used by the masses for use in fencing, window bars, sheets used for roofing etc does not require tested steel and compulsory ISI marking would result in increased cost.

Official sources said that the Ministry would be officially setting up the panel before the end of this month.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 21, 2006)
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