Paswan urges steel authorities to face up to challengesFebruary 3rd, 2009 - 8:05 pm ICT by ANI
New Delhi, Feb 3, (ANI): Steel Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday urged the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) to face up to challenges confronting the steel sector in the wake of the economic downturn.
Addressing the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of SAIL, Paswan recalled the day when Indias first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad launched the first blast furnace at the Rourkela Steel plant.
The Steel sector has been particularly hit by production cuts and price reductions worldwide, Paswan said, but added that Indias steel sector has not been as badly affected as other countries.
When the industry is facing difficulties, the Government has taken a series of steps to reduce the impact of slowdown, Paswan claimed.
He further added that import duty has been hiked, excise duty has been reduced and HR coil has been moved to the restricted list.
The Minister also paid tribute to Indias first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for displaying the vision to set up steel plants.
We must take that vision forward. The unprecedented modernization and expansion plan of the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) will take its capacity to 26 million tons of hot metal and total steel making capacity in India to 124 million tons by 2012, Paswan added.
He thanked Nehru for his vision of mixed economy, which has helped India to reduce the impact of the global meltdown.
Paswan said India is the fifth largest steel producer in the world and will soon achieve global norms of production.
Minister of State for Communication and IT, Jyotiraditya Scindia also recalled the vision of former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi in making India self sufficient in basic industries and technology.
SAIL has led from the front in contributing to the creation of world class infrastructure in India. The postage stamp released today will carry the story of the success of SAIL across the globe, Scindia said.
He also praised SAIL for taking the initiative in spending two per cent of its profit in such areas as health care, education and flood relief as a part of its corporate social responsibility.
Earlier, delivering his welcome address, SAIL Chairman, S. K. Roongta said the company has set new records of production and profit during the last four years.
SAIL is resolved to move ahead despite the current challenging environment and convert the challenges to opportunities. SAIL employees have bagged maximum number of Shram Awards which reflects their dedication to the job, Roongta said.
Minister of State for Steel Jitin Prasada, Secretary Steel P. K. Rastogi, Dr. G. Sanjeeva Reddy, President, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and Dr. M.K. Pandhe, President, CITU, were also present on the occasion. (ANI)
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