India’s steel industry, which is facing a crisis due to cheap imports and reduced prices, has sought a government support package on the lines of the ones extended to textiles and sugar sectors. After lobbying for imposition of import duty, safeguard duty and anti-dumping duty on imports from China, South Korea and Japan, the over USD 100 billion industry has now approached the government for a comprehensive Steel Package. The demand includes a year-long moratorium on payment of interest and principle amount as well as segregation of debt into two categories – Sustainable and Balance. According to analysts, domestic steel companies are sitting on a debt burden of Rs 3 lakh crore and falling prices have led to steeply lower realization making it difficult to service the debt burden. Besides, cheap imports from China, South Korea and Japan among others have further worsened the situation leading to a decline in the share of the firms in the domestic market. An estimated 26 percent of the total advances to the iron and steel sector are under stress. In a presentation made to the Steel Ministry, steel companies said investments to expand capacity has led to large borrowings and huge financial charges in the sector and urged for the comprehensive package.
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