India’s Steel Ministry plans to appoint consultancy firms to develop an action plan for the steel sector to overcome the crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan will be developed and implemented with definite milestones within a year of finalizing the consulting contract. Steel Ministry’s apex body Joint Plant Committee (JPC) has invited bids from reputed consultancy agencies through a request for proposal (RFP) document uploaded on the Ministry’s website.
Prior to the pandemic, India’s steel industry was on track to achieve an annual projected capacity expansion of 180-190mn mt by 2024-25. The government had set a target to annually produce 300mn mt steel in India by 2030, as per Steel Policy 2017. India aims to become self-sufficient in the production of auto grades, API grades and electrical grade steel, which are largely imported. Post the pandemic and the related-global slowdown, the steel industry needs to recalibrate its strategy for the development of domestic producers, states the RFP document.
The scope of the plan includes Current State Assessment (CAS) which includes identifying the challenges posed by the pandemic and its impact on the steel sector’s raw materials and finished goods supply chain, logistics, input cost of raw materials and price of products, availability of manpower and cost of labor. The agency will also assess international trade issues, demand in the domestic and international markets, conduct internal and external threat analysis, availability of finance and cost of funding and technology.
India’s secondary steel producers, DRI production through coal and Gas, IF & EAF, mini BFs will also be assessed under the plan. Upstream industries such as ferro-alloy units, pellet makers, scrap centres as well as downstream companies such as rolling mills, re-rollers, forging and casting and other steel intensive industries and the role of stakeholders such as railways, ports, commodity exchanges will also be assessed.
Ministry has called for a prioritization framework design which will help identify low-hanging fruits such as policy initiatives which could immediately ease out pressure experienced by upstream and downstream industries. The consultancy will also provide key inputs for the preparation of policy papers to be used by different government agencies and establish a governance structure to drive timely execution of policies.
The plan will also evaluate tariff and non-tariff measures to protection domestic steel industry from dumping and initiate policy interventions to boost steel export, besides evaluating investment policy to make steel sector attractive for domestic and foreign investors to establish end-to-end value-added steel manufacturing in India. The consultancy will also develop plans to improve electronic monitoring systems and database of the steel industry.