With a move to revive the Steel sector, the Steel Ministry has sought reduction of import duty on coking coal, nickel and gas, during the upcoming Union Budget 2017-18.
These two ingredients, coking coal and nickel act as the important raw materials in steel making; while gas is used in manufacturing of pellets, which are small iron ore balls used in the production of steel.
The country is largely dependent on imports, wherein the current import duty stands at 5% on nickel and 2.5% on coking coal. The prices of coal and railway freight are putting pressure on the operations of the domestic steel makers.
The Indian Steel Association wants the government to curtail the import duty on raw materials, so that it stands at zero.
Import dependency can be tackled by way of replacing imports with better fuel substitutes. For this the Coal Ministry is expected to invest in the washeries, as a result of which imports of coking coal are expected to decrease by 30%.
Domestic coking coal has a high content of ash, which is unfavourable for better quality steel manufacturing. Moreover, pellet making can be done via the electric mode or the gas based mode, at affordable prices.