Budget 2024: Steel makers expect focus on infra spend, import-checking measures

As the day nears when the interim union budget will be presented, stakeholders across sectors are closely monitoring the announcements and policy changes that could be impacted. 

The Budget Session will commence with the address of President Droupadi Murmu on January 31 and subject to the exigencies of government business, the session may conclude on February 9. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the interim Union Budget on February 1.

Steel industries have played crucial role in Indian economics. Ahead of the Union Budget 2024, steel makers in the country have put forth their expectations. The steel makers expect continued focus on the infrastructure spending, push to domestic manufacturing, and measures to check rising imports in the upcoming 2024-25 Union Budget. 

In the 2023-24 Budget, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a capex of Rs 10 lakh crore for infrastructure development. 

“The government should continue the focus on increasing the spend on infrastructure. It should also work on further improving the cost of doing business and the ease of doing business,” Tata Steel CEO & MD T V Narendran told PTI.

The industry also expects the government to take some measures to check rising imports as dumping of steel in India can hurt the profitability of players and the investment plans of the steel industry, he said.

Dilip Oommen, CEO, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India, said the industry expects the Budget to reflect the government`s continued dedication to economic growth.
“We urge a stronger focus on fair trade policies such as anti-dumping measures, raw material security, infrastructure investment, competitive financial ecosystem, R&D incentives, export promotion, skill development, and environmental sustainability,” Oommen said.

Rationalising the taxation on key inputs like natural gas, coking coal, electricity, and iron ore can help the Indian steel industry to be more sustainable.

Further push to domestic manufacturing will not only provide a clear advantage to attract investment and create jobs but also make India globally competitive in the long run to emerge as a viable alternative to China, he said. 

For the stainless steel industry, Anubhav Kathuria, Director of Synergy Steels, said at present, certain critical raw materials are not easily available in the country and duties on their imports add to the cost of production, PTI reported. 

“A feasible reduction in the import duty of 2.5 per cent on ferro nickel, 7.5 per cent on graphite electrodes, and 5 per cent on molybdenum concentrate and ferro molybdenum can be considered in the Budget”,  Kathuria said while speaking with PTI.

“The move will help enhance the cost-competitiveness of the domestic industry`s finished products, ensuring raw material security is a key priority for the stainless steel sector”, he said.

(With PTI Inputs)

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