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Virbhadra Singh on the saddle Steel Minister releases 100-day agenda

The Union Minister for Steel, Virbhadra Singh recently shared the Ministry’s agenda for the first 100 days of the new Government. The agenda included a strategic partnership between Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) and National Mineral Development Corporation Limited (NMDC), where both the companies will have cross holding of each others’ shares, with NMDC acquiring a majority stake in KIOCL. KIOCL will also acquire a stake in NMDC to benefit from the synergies between the two companies.

The government also envisaged setting-up of joint venture companies between Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and Shipping Corporation of India; Manganese Ore (India) Limited (MOIL) and SAIL; and MOIL and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) for Ferro Alloy Plant.

Releasing the agenda, the Minister opined that expansion programme will be implemented in a time bound manner. Moreover, there is nothing alarming on the steel price front.
According to him, RINL has been identified as the strategic partner for acquiring controlling stake in the Bird Group of Companies. The proposed organisational structure is for Orissa Mineral Development Corporation (OMDC) and Bisra Stone Lime Company (BSLC) and Eastern Investments Ltd (to be subsidiaries of RINL), which would be the holding company. Efforts will be made to procure approval of government within three months for restructuring Bird Group of Companies.

The agenda stated concerted efforts will be made for transferring Chiria Mines in the next 100 days to ensure that requisite formalities are completed for settling all the pending issues in favour of SAIL.
The Minister also shared that efforts will be made to see that Navaratna status is conferred to RINL within 100 days.
On the occasion, the Minister of State for Steel, A Sai Prathap highlighted the demand of steel producers and immediate measures to curb the threat of cheap steel imports.

Talking to newsmen, he said, “All major steel producers are going for capacity expansion. These includes the public sector giants like SAIL and RINL.”

He felt that a major challenge of the Ministry is to complete the expansion programme of SAIL and RINL on time; with SAIL’s production capacity going up from the present level around 15 million tones per annum to around 26 million tonnes over the next three years. While RINL’s capacity would double from the present level of 3 million tonnes per annum to around 6 million tonnes in two years with a total investment of more than Rs 70,000 crore in both these companies.

NMDC is also proposing to set-up a Green Field Integrated Steel Plant at Chhattisgarh for producing 3 million tonnes of steel per annum.

The Minister said that a proposal for RINL to acquire Neelanchal Ispat Nigam, having 1 million tonne integrated steel plant at Orissa, is also under active consideration of the Steel Ministry.
According to Prathap, a key strategic priority would be to operationalise the newly set-up International Coal Ventures Limited, which is a partnership between SAIL, RINL, NMDC, Coal India and NTPC, for acquiring coal mines overseas for the use of Indian steel producers like SAIL and RINL.

He said most of the steel PSUs were in profit mode, making significant contributions to the Government exchequer. To capture the benefits of improved synergies, some of the Steel PSUs were in the process of restructuring and mergers. The companies under restructuring/mergers includes Bird Group, HSCL, BRL and SIIL.

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