Steel associations across INDIA come together to protest proposed BIS order

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Federation and Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) and the Bombay Iron Merchants’ Association (BIMA) brought together associations representing over 10,000 steel users to clearly state the myths versus realities about current state of steel industry in India.
Showcasing their strength against the proposed BIS order, FAM and BIMA joined hands and organized an event which witnessed participation of office bearers of associations such as CORSMA, Steel Wire Manufacturers, Loha Vyapari Mahasangh (Madhya Pradesh), Indore Loha Vyapari Association, Chamber of Small Industries Association, Thane Small Scale Industries Association, Bhopal Loha Vyapari Association, Metal Container Manufacturer Association ,Karnataka State Wire and Bright Bar Association, Steel Chamber of India and Small Scale Wire Drawing Units Association. The event highlighted the reality of steel sector as opposed to the myths spread by the local manufacturers to get the BIS order approved. On behalf of all the steel users in India, they have come forward to request government to revoke order.
“Currently, local traders’ associations across the country have independently written to the government but have not received any response,” stated Mohan Gurnani, President, Federation of Associations of Maharashtra. “There is despair in all the steel industry circles, because local producers are already selling at 15-20 per cent higher price and if this order gets implemented, then they would hike the price further and rule with monopoly. Government needs to look into the matter more deeply before implementing it. We are not against implementing quality standards but the way it is being implemented it will only give monopoly to 5 local steel majors at the expense of 5.0crore small steel users.”
The platform was shared by steel traders and users from diverse segments such as wire drawing units, cold rollers and metal-can manufacturers, who belong to mainly SME and MSME sector. A.K Mahendru, Director, Cold Rolled Steel Manufacturers Association of India, highlighted the woes of cold rollers, as they do not get easy access to hot rolled coils because the raw material are highly priced locally. “Steel majors sell hot rolled coils at $80-90/MT is way higher than the international rates on landing. We are surprised that in spite of such high pricing, these majors still want further protection in terms of customs duty hike and safeguard duty! This will kill the steel users in India,” he opined.
The panel also said that such move would lead to loss of livelihood for many. “More than 1,00,000 Indians would lose their jobs. When the price of raw material increases, not every manufacturer can afford it and would eventually shutdown the businesses, affecting the livelihood of many. The ones who will hold the fort will pass on the pressure of pricing to the consumers. Within months of rolling out this order, you will see hike in prices. This move is against the ‘Make in India’ and will add to inflation,” said Sandeep Parikh, Vice President, Chamber of Small Industries Association, highlighting why SME and MSME are equally supporting this protest.
Talking about how this order is rather harsh on traders by punishing them with criminal proceedings, Ameer Engineerwala, President, Loha Vyapar Mahasangh (Madhya Pradesh) and Indore Loha Vyapari Association, asked, “How is the onus on stockiest or steel user to prove that steel in stock is BIS approved grade compliant? Steel which we get from manufacturers cannot be changed, as it is not like an item like oil or butter which can easily be adulterated. This is pure common sense. Laying down criminal proceedings for this is pure promotion of ‘Inspector Raj.’”
“BIMA has written to steel ministry giving a comprehensive solution that ensures steel quality is not compromised and rates are affordable to its users. Currently imported steel is in-tune with renowned and trusted international standards. Thus, the quality standards of American, Japanese and European standards should be exempt from the order. Further any compliance should be at steel manufactures stage only,” stated Sanjeev Mehta, Member, BIS action committee.

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