Steel Ministry to consider demands of recycling sector

23 January 2016

The union steel ministry will seriously consider the demands of the country's recycling industry for support in the form of strong policy initiatives. This includes a long standing demand of the recycling sector which has urged the government to formulate a Metal Recycling Policy and give it 'industry status'. The government has also promised to review the duty structure on metal scrap imports.

Metal Recycling Association of India (MRAI), an apex trade body which represents a clutch of units which recycle steel, aluminium, copper and zinc from auto, white goods, power, infrastructure and construction, is currently organising a three day conference on 'Metal Recycling in India Vision Forward - A Clean, Green India'. Aruna Sundararajan, union steel secretary and Balvinder Kumar, union mines secretary attended the meet on Friday.

Addressing the meet, Sundararajan announced that there will be a set of policies on end-of-life-cycle commodities and a new institutional mechanism framed as per the industry's requirements, which will best suit the country's requirements too. She also said recommendations of a Joint Plant Committee (JPC), which was set up to study the scrap processing sector of India, will be considered and the Steel Ministry will commence work on key recommendations for the metal recycling industry.

Also acknowledging the need to look into import duty structure on imports of all types of metal scraps that attract about 5% customs duty, which is making imports unviable for scrap importers, the steel secretary said that the first set of policy measures on this issue would be taken up shortly, duly supported by budgetary pronouncements.

Referring to MRAI's demand that the FTA agreements with ASEAN countries be reviewed, Balvinder Kumar stated that a formal communication has been made to the Commerce Ministry to review the FTA agreements and the issue will be reviewed with the Finance and Revenue Ministries, too India's recycling industry has high growth potential and is tipped to grow at 11.4% per year with consumption estimated to reach 30.03 million tonne by 2020. The industry is also environment friendly and this gives it a tremendous advantage. "However, unlike many other countries, India lacks a proper Metal Recycling Policy and this puts immense pressure on our natural resources," Sanjay Mehta, president of MRAI said.

"In light of the growth prospects, the government needs to understand the vast, deep and promising nature of recycling business and ensure adequate regulation and policy support. This will also help in achieving the objectives under Swachh Bharat and Make in India programme. Moreover, it would also help us implement the climate change goals under COP21 or the Paris Climate Conference," the MRAI official added.

The recycling sector comprises a large number of small units, is highly fragmented and has been unable to speak in a common voice, so far. The 3- day meet seems to have made the right noises to focus government attention on the sector's needs. This includes pre-shipment inspection certification (PSIC), an area where MRAI wants the government to streamline and ensure hassle free pre-shipment inspection procedures. MRAI has also sought removal of inconsistencies in customs and evaluation of pricing in scrap imports.