Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday said the Finance Ministry has been requested to implement the proposed Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) to provide local manufacturers a level-playing field.
The proposed BAT would be imposed on imported goods in addition to customs duty to bring the imported product at par with locally made products.
The Indian industry has been complaining to the government about domestic taxes like electricity duty, duties on fuel, clean energy cess, mandi tax, royalties, biodiversity fees that get charged on domestically produced goods as these duties get embedded into the product.
But many imported goods do not get loaded with such levies in their respective country of origin and this gives such products price advantage in the Indian market.
As far as support for the domestic steel sector is concerned, the government is already doing that. There is huge installed steel capacity in India and accordingly production is also happening in the country, Pradhan said pointing out the area which has to be looked into is steel consumption.
"Today, India is the second largest steel producer with huge steel making capacities. India has 150 million tonne (MT) of installed capacity and produces 110 MT of steel. Soon India will attain the level of 150 MT as well. We are also producing special steel as well for various usages including Defence and space projects. We have already requested the Department of Finance to impose the Border Adjustment Tax," he said.
Pradhan was speaking at a webinar organised by the Ministry of Steel to discuss a road map to increase the steel consumption in India. However, instead of its huge capacities, per capita steel usage is low, he said.
Compared to the global average steel consumption of 225 kg per, India has one-third of it. It has 75 kg per capita steel consumption.
India is investing big time in creating infrastructure for future across sectors like railways, roads, civil aviation, energy will further provide impetus to the steel consumption in the country, he said.
Pradhan said to boost the steel consumption, the Ministry of Steel has also held several discussions with the Ministry of Railways, Road, Transport and Highways, Power etc.
He further said the Ministry of Steel will also set up a working group which will regularly monitor the steps taken to enhance the steel usage.
Minister of State for Steel Faggan Singh Kulaste said "There is a wide scope of increasing the consumption of steel in the country, particularly in the rural areas. The consumption of steel in the rural areas is almost one-quarter of the national average."
He said the increase in steel consumption will give impetus to the economic activities, help in improving the environment, and provide employment opportunities.
The ministers also have invited stakeholders of steel, construction, infrastructure sectors, besides academicians, think-tanks to suggest new ideas to boost steel consumption in the country.