Steel Ministry to continue with import duty reduction demand
India's steel ministry in its recommendations for Union Budget 2017-18 to the Finance Ministry has asked for reduction in the import duty on the coking coal.
The steel ministry will press on with its demand for reduction in import duty of scrap and coking coal, a vital component of steel making, a top official said on Friday.
The steel industry is burdened by an increase in input costs due to high coking coal prices.
"Our request will continue on the demand because we are importing 70% of coking coal. And the same applies to the scrap because we do not have enough scrap in this country. These two issues will continue to be pursued," Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma said during the event.
The import duty on coking coal is 2.5% now.
Hailing the Union Budget 2017-18 as "very good", she said "(in the Budget) we have managed to have zero (import duty) on nickel... What has been left out (in the Budget) is on the coking coal".
In the run-up to the Union Budget, the steel ministry in its recommendations to the finance ministry had sought a reduction in the import duty on the coking coal.
During the event, she requested Power Minister Piyush Goyal to accord renewable energy status to gas as it would provide relief to the steel sector.
"There is one request that all of us are investing in big way to reuse gas and gas is not termed as renewable energy. And if this is done, it will give a lot of relief to the steel sector," she said.
The Indian Steel Association (ISA), the industry body representing primary steel producers, had also urged the government to reduce import duty to zero on all the raw materials used for steel making.
Steel Authority of India (SAIL), India's largest steel maker, had recently said there is a need to develop indigenous sources of coking coal to meet requirements as the recent rise in the price of global metallurgical coal was putting pressure on its operations.
The global coking coal price, which was at $80 per tonne in January last year, rose to $283 in December, Indian Steel Association Secretary General Sanak Mishra had earlier said.
However, in early January this year, the price of metallurgical coal came down to $193 per tonne, Mishra had added.