Rural India holds key to enhancing per-capital steel usage in the country and it will bring greater strength to society, ensure rural development and create jobs.Union Minister for Steel and Petroleum & Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan said that there are immense opportunities in the rural sector to foster steel demand.
He addressed a webinar on ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat: Fostering steel usage in Rural economy-Agriculture | Rural Development | Animal Husbandry and Dairying | Food Processing’ organized by Ministry of Steel in association with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today.
Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Panchayati Raj and Food Processing Industries also graced the occasion.
Minister Steel said, “I am glad to see stakeholders from steel, agriculture, rural development, animal husbandry and dairy coming together for this webinar”.
The Minister informed that Union Government has started disbursing Rs. 1,00, 000 crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund with many new sectors being included in the priority sector.
“We are developing 5000 Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) plants across the country. Reserve Bank of India has recently included CBG in the priority sector. We are working on to make ethanol from rice. The mission to ensure housing for all, investments in rural roads, railway infra augmentation and impetus to agriculture will all create greater steel demand. Enhancing per-capita steel consumption is in the interest of all,” he said.
Minister Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar said that Steel as a strength giving material has to play an important role in making our villages strong and self-reliant.
Mr.Tomar said that the shift in rural demand during the last few years has been encouraging. He said that ability of rural consumers spending has improved by policy support, development efforts, farm loan waivers, higher minimum support prices, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), and a rural development-focused budgetary process.
“There are immense opportunities available in rural sector covering rural infrastructure development projects, food processing, rural housing, food storage, agriculture equipment manufacturing etc. to foster steel usage. Rising rural economy is opening up new opportunities for greater steel usage. Key Government missions like PM Awas Yojana, Jal Jeevan Mission, MSP are improving lives and strengthening rural economy also involve greater steel usage”.
He stated that Growth in other areas like energy, dairying, fisheries, food processing, agri-equipments etc. will also have a positive bearing on the steel consumption in rural areas.
He also suggested formation of a working group to look into the requirement of steel in the rural sector and map it to the domestic steel production. This will enable better co-ordination, planned approach to co-creating framework for greater use of domestic steel in rural areas.
Captains of Steel industry, Senior officials of the Ministries of Steel, Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Panchayati Raj and Food Processing Industries and Fisheries and senior officials of State Governments and CII participated in the webinar.