Industry body Ficci has suggested various measures like infrastructure status to the steel industry, zero duty on critical raw materials, and another three-month moratorium to revive the sector, which has been impacted by the lockdown.
COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent nationwide lockdown have affected the demand and production of steel, as well as resulted in the rise of inventory levels, it said, adding the policy interventions would help the industry to revive and help generate employment opportunities.
In its suggestions to the government, Ficci said: "It...recommends for an extension of additional three months moratorium granted on payment of interest and repayment of loans without any penal interest and interest free financing/at nominal rates for MSMEs in the sector to revive".
Granting infrastructure status to the steel industry, it said, will give access to finance at competitive rates from various markets and sources. Besides, the entire supply chain of the sector should be incorporated into essential services, and be allowed to operate with precautionary measures as per the guidelines of the government.
The industry body also suggested zero import duty on critical raw materials for steel making. The move will help players to reduce input cost and sustain in the market.
Fast tracking operationalisation of all steel consuming industries should be accorded the highest priority, the body said, adding new areas of applications for steel products like in furniture, setting railway infrastructure etc must be explored to further enhance the demand.
"To further reduce financial burden on the sector, Ficci recommends for deferment of royalty, DMF (District Mineral Fund) and NMET (National Mineral Exploration Trust) by 6 months till the economic situation stabilises and subsuming of all levies like royalty, DMF, NMET etc. into one tax like GST," the industry body said.
Other suggestions included to subsidise railway freight by additional 15 per cent for next six months, waiving off charges like container detention and demurrage charges, ground rent by custodians till end of May 2020 to reduce the financial burden on the industry, priority in rake allocation for transportation of raw material and steel products for next 6 months.
It also said that all statutory clearances like mineral license, environment clearance, and consent to operate etc, that are pending for renewals, should be deemed granted for at least one year, in view of the nationwide lockdown.
It has requested the government to facilitate the movement of migrant workers from their native places to plants by providing special sanitised wagons and financial support to the workers for commuting.
The body also raised concerns that India could see a surge in imports post lockdown as many countries would try to dump in their products into local market.