Nagpur: The government has a vision to increase steel production to 300 million tonnes, Union Minister of State for Steel and Mines Vishnu Deo Sai said today.
Sai was here to review the performance of public sector Manganese Ore India Limited (MOIL), where he interacted with top officials of the company.
"India is now the fourth largest steel producer in the world and the Narendra Modi government has a vision to occupy the third spot with 300 million tonnes of (steel) production," the minister told reporters.
However, according to World Steel Association (WSA), India already occupies the third spot, with a production of 89.4 million tonnes in 2015. China remained the world's leading steel producer with an output of 803.8 million tonnes last year.
Claiming that the BJP-led government is working at a faster pace than the previous UPA regime, Sai said there were 60,000 applications of different nature, right from licence to lease renewals, that were pending before his ministry when the new government took over.
The government has started the auction process and six mines located in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and other places have been auctioned, he added.
He said the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 has been reviewed and many reforms carried out.
Sai said his ministry has drafted a National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP) for facilitating large scale private sector investments in exploration.
Replying to a question, the minister said the District Mineral Foundations (DMF) are being set up at district level by mineral-rich states.
"For the first time in the history of mining sector, the highest ever dividend of Rs 3,000 crore has been paid by Hindustan Zinc Limited to the Government of India as special dividend under ministry's initiative," he said.