The Centre is “actively studying” the issue of export duty imposed on steel, and discussions have taken place at the highest level, Steel Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an AIMA (All India Management Association) event, the Minister said, decisions on export duty will be taken at an appropriate time and “all concerned will be informed”.

Removal of import duty

The Ministry, incidentally, has already taken up with the Ministry of Finance matters such as removal of import duty on various steel making inputs — chrome ore, manganese ore, natural gas, among others.

“This (withdrawal of duty on steel exports) is something which is under active study by my department as well as the Government. We are certainly discussing this at the highest level. When a decision is taken on this you shall be be informed,” Scindia said.

The Centre had on May 21, hiked the duty on exports of iron ore by up to 50 per cent and for a few steel intermediaries to 15 per cent. It also waived customs duty on the import of some raw materials, including coking coal and ferro-nickel – some raw materials that are used by the steel mills.

“I have written to the Finance Ministry on a number of issues facing the steel industry. There will be discussions with the Finance Ministry following which the Government will take a considered view on all those issues (removal of import duty and customs on steel making raw materials),” he added.

Indian steel mills have been expressing concern over the continued extension of duty on steel exports. The concerns come over continued fall in steel sold to key overseas markets being reported since April of this fiscal; and a continue depression in demand because of global recessionary pressures. Post export duty levy, Indian steel is costlier that competing offerings from China and Vietnam by at least 10 per cent.

PLI Scheme

According to Scindia, the Centre’s ₹6,220 crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for speciality steel-making has received “an overwhelming response” and there have been close to 79 applications from 35 companies. A capacity of close to 28 million tonnes (MT) per annum of new speciality steel is expected to come up under the scheme; leading to an employment generation for 70,000 people.

“The Government is gradually moving away from its role of being a regulator to that of being a facilitator,” he said, adding that the India’s aim to doubling steel production capacity to 300 mt (from 150 mt, at present), has to be driven by both integrated producers like SAIL and Tata Steel, and secondary mills.

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