India aims to surpass China in the production of steel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Wednesday.
"India has surpassed the US in steel production but is still far behind China. We need to beat China as we cannot afford to lag behind anyone when it comes to 'Make in India’," Modi said at a public rally after dedicating the modernised Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) to the nation.
With an investment of around Rs 12,000 crore, the production capacity of the upgraded steel plant will go up to 4.5 million tonnes annually from 2 million tonnes currently.
RSP is one of the five integrated steel plants of public sector steel major Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL). Modi is the second PM after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to visit this plant, which is also known as 'Industrial Konark'.
SAIL is currently undertaking an expansion-cum-modernisation plan at all its plants and mines. With an investment of over Rs 72,000 crore, this project is expected to be completed in September and will take the annual production capacity to 23 million tonnes from 13 million tonnes currently. With SAIL and all the public and private sector companies, total production capacity in India has reached around 100 million tonnes, while capacity in the US is around 90 million tonnes, and in China over 1,100 million tonnes.
With over one lakh people attending the rally, Modi said once again that eastern States should take a leap along with the Western regions. The eastern States comprise Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, along with North-Eastern States, while Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa are the Western states with high growth rates.
Talking about key initiatives taken during the last one year after his election rally here on April 4 last year, the Prime Minister said decisions on enhancing royalty on minerals, successful coal block auction, and higher share in tax revenue are some of the important decisions. Implementation of recommendations given by the 14th Finance Commission will give Rs 25,000 crore to Odisha in the new fiscal as against Rs 18,000 crore in 2014-15, he said.
Terming coal as diamond, he said the Government has successfully managed to get around Rs 2 lakh crore by auctioning just 20 of the 204 blocks cancelled by the Supreme Court. Now this money will go to States such as Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh beside others, he said, as the coal blocks were in these States only.
Use of mineral resources
The Prime Minister said India has huge potential in the steel sector, which is also linked to national security and defence issues. "We have huge resources and minerals and instead of exporting raw material, we can do value addition here to sell quality products in the global market," the PM said.
He said India was also focusing on manufacturing warships and Rourkela Steel Plant and its employees had contributed significantly in this direction. The special steel manufactured here was being used in tanks used by the Army, he said. Describing the city as the town which has given India the strength of steel, he said RSP plays a key role in the nation's defence.
The Prime Minister said the world was looking at India again with optimism. He invited investors from across the world to invest in India. "Return on investment here is higher than in any other country," he claimed.