JALNA: The steel industry is facing a crisis as the number of its employees has fallen below 500,000, and demand for the material has been hit by a global downturn in demand and production.
Industry officials have said it is the worst crisis the industry has faced in decades and are pushing to raise productivity, cut costs and diversify to improve its competitiveness.
The crisis has hit steel prices, the value of the rupee and the government’s ability to finance the steel sector.
In a wide-ranging meeting of the National Steel Council (NSC) on Monday, chief executive officer (CEO) of India’s largest steel producer, Bharat Steel, JK Singh, said the industry was in a “critical situation”.
“We have to make an assessment of our future and if we have to go into the next phase of consolidation or consolidation of our workforce, which is our future.
I am not talking about the steel industry as a whole, but we have steel mills, mills in our state, we have mills in the region, we also have mills that are going into the country and we are in a critical situation,” Singh said.”
It is a very difficult situation and we will do our best to address it,” he said.
A number of Indian steel mills are now closed due to the crisis, but Singh said it was “not a big deal” as they could be re-opened if the steel demand picked up.
He also said that the steel workers were not “underpaid” and that they were not treated poorly.
“We are talking about about the industry of 1.5 million people that is operating at about 40% to 50% of its capacity.
They are at a time where we are working on this to improve our productivity, improve our competitiveness,” Singh added.
Steel imports from China and the US have risen and Indian exports are at record highs.