One of the reasons for this growth was the domestic availability and accessibility of coal and iron ore, two crucial raw materials for steel production, combine with cost-effective labor and low conversion costs for steel, India was the second largest producer of crude steel since 2019. With the increasing coal production in India, the country became the third largest coal producing nation in the world. With the approval of pending coal projects and tabling of a new coal mining law, the nation was poised to overtake Australia and the United States to become second largest coal producing nation in 2020. Also, India was fourth largest producer of iron ore.
The country produced different types of iron and steel such as pig iron, sponge iron, crude steel, and finished steel, to name a few. India was the leading producer of sponge iron since 2003. These products were produced in different stages and forms like non-alloy and alloy finished steel, stainless steel, plates, rolls, and bars. These were also made according to requirement of different sectors which included railways and construction.
Iron and steel were produced by the public and private sectors. The private sector had the larger share. The production share of steel by public sector was consistently below 20 percent. There were seven central enterprises and its four subsidiaries under the Ministry of Steel. Steel Authority of India Limited or commonly known as SAIL was the one of the largest steel producers in the public sector. There were numerous private players both big and small. Some key players were JSW Steel and Tata Steel.
To ensure continuous growth of this sector, the government launched the national steel policy 2017 and the national mineral policy 2019, to support the different stakeholders, increase financing by the private sector, and boost consumption and trade of steel. The government allowed 100 percent FDI in this sector under the automatic route. Also, to ensure availability of iron ore, an important raw material for steel making, the government introduced high customs duty of 30 percent on most grades. This led to a reduction of iron ore exports from India, compared to preceding years. The Modi government also introduced a steel import monitoring system, to act against anti-dumping and to provide relevant data for every level of the supply chain.