India has made major advances in the quality of steel it produces. Leading companies like Essar Steel have developed the capability to produce the high-strength steel required for major infrastructure projects like Bogibeel bridge, Chenab river bridge, etc.
Pankaj Agarwal, CEO (India), DMIA Group, believes all grades of steel are indigenously produced in reasonably good quantities, but because the demand is exceptional, India ends up importing a big share of the steel consumed. “Of late, there has been no dearth of imported steel in India, as China has a huge surplus and is very aggressive in its export strategies,” he says. “Considering prevailing import duties and other levies, imported steel is a notch cheaper and there is no serious issue with the quality of product.”
However, Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, Founder & Managing Director, Hiranandani Group, and National President, National Real Estate Development Council, is of the opinion that “differences exist in the quality, price and ready availability of locally available steel and steel sourced from global suppliers. While the quality of steel made by Indian companies meets the needs of real-estate projects, there is scope for using steel sourced from global vendors for the development of infrastructure. Even developers could opt to use steel sourced from global suppliers from the price perspective, but this rarely happens.”
In future, Dr Hiranandani hopes the Make in India initiative will ensure that steel products for all sorts of projects will be available in the required quality and quantity, so that project owners can choose the better option between a local supplier and a global supplier.
Instead of the current protectionist import policy, Agarwal suggests getting major steel exporters from China and Russia to manufacture their products in India through a Make in India initiative, to create healthy competition between Indian and international steel producers.
- CHARU BAHRI