10 July 2020

Table of Contents for Special Focus- STEEL

Interview - Sushim Banerjee (INSDAG)

On life cycle cost analysis steel is 8 – 10 percent cheaper than RCC

Sushim Banerjee, Director General, Institute for Steel Development & Growth (INSDAG) discusses the various issues related to steel industry with Janaki Krishnamoorthi



India’s domestic consumption of steel is very low as compared to the world per capita consumption. What are the reasons behind ?

The per capita consumption of steel in India, currently at around 60 kg, is very low  compared to the world per capita consumption at 225 kg. The primary reasons are inadequate investment in infrastructure and construction sector leading to a declining share of Gross Fixed Capital Formation as a percentage of GDP ; stagnant share of manufacturing in GDP at 14-15 percent as compared to 18-32 percent in Turkey, South Korea and China; limited publicity of steel-concrete composite technology as compared to RCC (Reinforced Cement Concrete) construction and LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) advantage of steel use.


What measures have been  taken by INSDAG to increase the domestic  consumption?

The INSDAG has adopted a series of measures to enhance the low steel-cement ratio in the country (currently at 0.3 against 1 and more than 1 in UK and Japan). They include propagating the steel-concrete composite technology in building design (both residential and non-residential) as opposed to RCC construction in various assignments received for critical building and structures; conducting training programmes on the latest steel design technique of Limit State Method (IS 800) for the students and faculties of engineering colleges, professionals, structural engineers and architects all over the country. Till date, INSDAG has covered more  than 8000 engineering college faculties and other professionals. In addition INSDAG is also conducting an annual competition for students of engineering colleges in civil / structural design and also for architectural students on steel based designs for a particular structure ; a three week Entrepreneurship cum Skill Development Programme (ESDP) for rural entrepreneurs to make them steel fabricators and  obtain subsidized bank loans under Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) to set up
fabrication facilities. Already INSDAG has conducted these programmes in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bokaro (Jharkhand), Bhubaneswar , Rourkela (Odisha), Bellary (Karnataka) etc. Training programmes are also being held for  masons and other contractors to disseminate the knowledge of good practices in TMT bar bending.  We have conducted these  programmes in association with Tata Steel at Kolkata, Patna, Dhanbad, Kolhapur, Bikanar, Guwahati, Rajasthan, etc.Other measures include participating in  both national international seminars to propagate the cause of steel , undertaking research studies and publication of books on advantages of use of steel vis-à-vis other competing materials, life cycle cost analysis of buildings and roads, low cost housing design for the rural poor and also for a model steel village.



Which are the areas in construction industry where steel can be used and what are the advantages and disadvantages, in using steel as against other materials?
In construction industry, steel can be used in residential,  non-residential, industrial and commercial complexes. There are various advantages in using steel like durability, strength, flexibility in design, earthquake resistance, fire resistance, corrosion resistance. On life cycle cost analysis steel is 8 – 10 percent cheaper than RCC. Being environment friendly and faster to construct, it has  been proved that for multi-storey construction, steel based structures have many advantages.  



The high price of steel is considered a major deterrent to its wide usage in construction – what is your view on this?
The price of steel is considered high in the construction sector. One of the reasons is that steel when used in construction do not get a modvatable benefit. Once this is given the high price due to excise duty (12.36%) can be exempted and steel price to the actual user would be cheaper.



What kind of support do steel companies need from the government in terms of regulatory measurers, infrastructure, funding, etc?

From the Government, the steel industry is looking for support in terms of adequate investment in infrastructure and construction leading  to more demand for steel; resolving the raw materials sourcing issues including speedy clearances for mining leases, allotment of fresh mines, suitable royalty reduction  and changes in some provisions of the MM&DR Act (Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act) lying in Parliament; resolving the environment and forest clearances, issues regarding land acquisition and mining at various locations in West Bengal, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh and arranging sufficient funds from the banks to carry on capacity expansion activities.


Under Free Trade Agreement, HR/CR sheet /coils are arriving in India from South Korea and Japan at negligible custom duties against the normal 7.5 percent  basic custom duties. These agreements need to be reviewed to avoid its adverse effect on the domestic producers.


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