Survey to assess rural steel demand
The Steel Ministry has decided to launch a Nation-wide survey on rural steel consumption and demand to correctly assess the rural steel consumption. This survey will cover all the states and union territories covering nearly 300 districts and 1500 villages in the country.
The survey conducted by the Joint Plant Committee (JPC) will reveal a true picture of steel consumption pattern and the potential demand, covering all socio-economic and geographical entities of the country.
The announcement was made by the Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh while inaugurating the Conference on ‘Diversifying and Enhancing Steel Consumption’. He said, based on this survey, we will orient our strategy for an accelerated steel consumption growth in rural India, which will also be in concurrence with the government’s programme for a vibrant and developing ‘Gramin Bharat’. The Minister said consumption of steel in rural areas remains quite low despite a modest rise in last 2-3 years.
He said, one of the major reasons of low rural consumption is the lack of easy availability of steel in remote blocks and villages. Emphasising the need to strengthen distribution network in rural areas he said if steel items of mass consumption were easily available in the villages, the picture could have been different.
The Minister said, over the past few years the PSU steel companies have taken lead in opening nearly 1500 distribution centers in the district and block levels. Steel Processing Units are also being set up in various states to manufacture the products locally to cater to the specific needs of that region.
The Minister expressed the hope that private sector steel units will soon take action in establishing rural distribution networks and see that their products of mass consumption are easily available in the remotest parts of the country, at affordable prices.
He urged the steel industry to be proactive in steel application designs. Better quality and lower cost of application will certainly be acceptable by the users by way of value offers. This will be one of the most positive ways of improving steel consumption. The Research and Resign (R&D) in steel sector should put higher emphasis on steel intensive product innovations and design applications.
The Minister expressed his happiness that FICCI has been bold enough to choose a topic on the diverse subject concerning steel consumption. He hoped the Conference would elaborate on the various diverse issues and arrive at a common consensus