Need to harness digital revolution in Indian steel sector: Dr VK Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog

New Delhi: Dr VK Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog today said that the Indian iron and steel industry with its strong forward and backward linkages, contributes significantly to the overall growth and development of the economy. “Technology and innovation are the need of the hour as through this we will be able to manage the competitiveness and minimize the environmental impact,” he added.

Addressing the webinar ‘Steel Technology & Innovations – Increasing Productivity & Technology Quotient’, organised by FICCI, Dr Saraswat said that digital technologies are important to improve the efficiency and output of Indian steel sector. “Digital revolution certainly has to be harnessed. Digital technologies are changing the world and improving the way organisations work. Steel and Metal manufacturers have a huge opportunity to transform their operational models by adopting digital technologies and enabling them to improve operational efficiency, customer service, inventory levels and profit margins,” he added.

In the digital transformation, he said four levels are key – digital data, automation, connectivity and digital customer access which are crucial for effectively implementing the digitalization process. “This is particularly important for brownfield industries which need upgradation in this area,” he emphasized.

Speaking on the National Steel Policy, Dr Saraswat stated that the policy was created to enable the creation of a self-sufficient steel industry that is technologically advanced along with becoming globally competitive and promote inclusive growth. The policy also envisages a per capita consumption increase to 160 kg by 2030 against 74 kg currently, he noted.

Dr Saraswat further said that in order to achieve a $ 5 trillion economy, the Ministry of Steel has defined a 5-year vision in order to shape and drive the Indian steel sector. “There are 4 dynamic pillars in this which includes the steel demand, availability of raw materials, steel supply capacity and steel trade flows,” he added.

Dr Saraswat also stressed on the need for decarbonizing the Indian steel industry as the sector contributes to 7 percent of the global carbon di-oxide emissions and thereby making it urgent target for decarbonizing. “We have to start using the blue hydrogen in production as much as possible,” he added.

Mr BN Satpathy, Senior Consultant, Office of Principal Scientific Advisor, Govt of India said that the productivity of steel is dependent on productivity of other allied industries. “Technology today is global and in the global value chain it is important to look at the trade aspects along with the policies determining the trade,” he added.

Mr Parmjeet Singh, Additional Industrial Adviser, Ministry of Steel, Govt of India said that under the National Steel Policy 2017, the production capacity is expected to grow to 300 MT and the steel demand is expected to grow to 230 MT by 2030-31. “It is imperative to lay emphasis on advanced technologies & innovations to improve efficiency and productivity of the sector, to reach to the targets envisaged,” he said.

Ms Soma Mondal, Chair, FICCI Steel Committee and Chairman, Steel Authority of India Ltd said that with our strong linkages with end use sectors like construction, infrastructure, railways, defense, oil & gas, transportation and many others, steel industry has strategic importance in the National Mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat. She further emphasized on the need to setup Technology & Innovation Fund to facilitate the R&D initiatives and technology adoption for the general benefits of the Indian steel industry and Steel MSME.

Mr VR Sharma, Co-Chair, FICCI Steel Committee & MD, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd said that this is the right time for the country to grow both in the brownfield and greenfield projects, leveraging the domestically established technology prowess.

Mr Pankaj Satija, Senior Member, FICCI Steel Committee and Chief Regulatory Affairs, Tata Steel shared that technology deployment is one segment wherein the industry needs to keep progressing towards the advancements, irrespective of the success rate, to make the industry globally as well as domestically competitive.

Dr Mukesh Kumar, Director, SRTMI (under the aegis of Ministry of Steel), Govt of India, highlighted upon the objectives of the webinar, stating that to achieve the next era of growth for Indian steel, it is necessary to build the tech enabled industry of tomorrow. And therefore, to discuss upon the future technologies, opportunities & challenges, the said webinar had been organized.

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