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Guest of the Month

Shri Shyam Sunder Beriwala is the Principal Promoter and Chairrman of Shyam Shree Steels Ltd. and SGI Ispat Pvt. Ltd. based in West Bengal. He is the Chairman, Steel Re-rolling Mills Associtaion of India, Kolkata and is also associated with CII, Merchant Chambers of Commerce, Kolkata and several other business, sports and social bodies. Here are excerpts of his interview with D. A. Chandekar, Editor, Steelworld.

Q. How is the State of Steel Re-rolling Industry in India ?

A. There are approximately 2600 Re-rolling Mills in India out of which approximately 1800 Re-rolling Mills are working inclusive of scrap rerollers in India. Out of total 1800, 1167 rerolling mills are on the list of the Government whether States or Central. But the rest of the mills have not been enlisted with the State Governments or the Central Governments specially because the Governments does not provide any facilities or benefits to Industry. The capacity of the rerolling industry was assessed by the then Development Commissioner for Iron & Steel in the year 1981-82 at 20 million tones which has gone to approximately 24 million tones. As per the comprehensive survey of Steel Rerolling Industry Volume I, 1996 by Development Commissioner for Iron & Steel a total of 1213 Rerolling Mills responded to their questionnaire. The Steel Rerolling industry engaged in the supply of its finished products to the Government, Semi Government and other big Projects and Housings have installed quality control arrangements in their Mills and produce the Steel Products confirming to the relevant standards.

Q. What are the major Government Regulations / Subsidies covering this sector ? Do you propose any changes ?

A. This sector has to face several regulations from the Government in the shape of Pollution Control, ESI, RPF, Central Excise Duty, Custom Duty, Auxilliary Duty, Sales Tax, Laws under Factory Act, Trade License, Health License, Fire License etc. etc.

Regarding subsidies this area is decreasing day by day. The subsidies in Excise Duty is more or less eliminated, so is the case of Sales Tax. Some subsidies are there for the new units as well as for the sick units. Those are Interest Subsidy, Capital Investment Subsidies, Stamp Duty Exemptions, Electricity Subsidies. The industry proposes some of the changes which may bring revolution in the industrial environment of India. These may be narrated as follows :

a) The Subsidies and Benefits which are provided to sick units should immediately be withdrawn as it is seen generally that none of these sick units could survive even after several subsidies and benefits.

b) The subsidies and benefits should only be provided to the existing units which have never been benefited with any subsidy since its inception.

c) Finance should be provided to the existing units at the negligible rate of interest or at the interest rate prevailing in developed countries. As the industry does not see any benefit where existing units become sick and the new units fulfills the vaccum under the umbrella of Incentives and Subsidies.

d) The Government should disinvest or dispose off such Public Undertakings in which the total accumulation of losses since their installation has gone more than 25% of the total capital investment.

Q. How would you compare Rerolling Industry in India with that in other parts of the world ? Especially on technological front ?

A. The shape of rerolling industry in Secondary Sector is very bad in comparison with its counter parts in the world. The main reason is that Government of India has given importance to only main steel producers specially SAIL. It never paid heed to the requirements of the Secondary Steel Rerolling Industry.

Q. How is industry responding to the growing demands of quality by Structural designers ?

A. The industry has been responding very well with the help of highly qualified Structural Designers and the Institutions like IITís, Engineer Colleges, Universities etc. Most of the steel Rerollers who consume Pencil Ingots and Billets have installed their own quality control devices and necessary infrastructure to test chemical properties as well as physical strength of the structurals being produced in their factories. Many of them are on the approved list of BIS, RITES, Defence, Railways etc. etc. Many of them feed the Indigeneous Engineering Industry like Bright Bar Manufacturers, Pipes & Tubes Manufacturers, Rolling Shutter Manufacturers, Steel Window & Doors Manufacturers, Wire Manufacturers, Products for Tele Communications, Transmission Towers etc. etc. We have the pleasure to state that 68% of the total requirement of the country is fed by Secondary Steel Producers.

Q. What steps is SRMA taking to spread the quality awareness amongst rerolling Industry ?

A. Excepting the last year, the long slump in the steel market for the previews 5 years or so have broken the backbone of Steel Rerolling Industry which in turn has very bad effects on the concerned associations inclusive of SRMA. Whatever the small resources are with SRMA it tries to spread the quality awareness among the rerolling industry. We at SRMA have organised several Seminars, Workshops and Dialogues with NISST (National Institute of Secondary Steel Technology), Joint Plant Committee, Institute for Steel Development & Growth, Small Industries Service Institute, India Society of Engineers, Various Chambers of Commerces, Several Management and Metallurgical Consultants, Indian Institute of Metal, India Chapter etc. etc. The result is very good and our units are competing the main producers in almost all priority sectors.

In addition to the above points SRMA sought the help of the Media like you towards the much needed labour reforms specially in the unorganised sector like rerolling mills with the labour employment below 500. The industry must have the right to dismiss the inefficient, rude, or the violent workers paying their due compensation as per the Law of the Land. The fear of unemployment can only bring smooth production in the factories. The rate of interest by the Bankers and the Financial Institutions must not be charged more than 3% above the interest rate which they pay to the Depositors in average. In SRMAís view this will not increase in such case more than 7%. The Government should not exploit the industry in the name of Trade License, Health License, Storage Charges, other Municipal Taxes on the basis of size of the land of the factory and of the capital invested with the factory. The complexity of the laws and regulations should be simple. For example while VAT is to be implemented why other relevant taxes like CST, Excise, Auxilliary Duty, Octroi, Goods Storage Taxes, Professional Tax etc. are allowed to remain.

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