Union Minister Nitin Gadkari assures regulator for steel, cement industry to curb cartelisation – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/indl-goods/svs/cement/cement-factories-exploiting-market-situation-says-gadkari/articleshow/80198413.cmsSynopsis

Real estate developers, for the last few months, have been alleging cartelisation by cement and steel manufacturers and seeking government intervention to regulate prices that have been rising.

MUMBAI: The government is serious about setting up a regulator for the steel and cement industry to curb the cartelization, said Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.

Expressing concern over the cartelization in the steel and cement industry, the minister said that it was not in the interest of the nation.

“We have taken serious note of it and I have discussed this with honourable prime minister. Most of the steel companies own iron ores and with no increase in labour and power charges, why should there be the increase in the steel prices. It is very difficult to understand. Similarly, cement industry is taking disadvantage of the situation by exploiting it for the profit. This is not in the interest of the nation. We are aiming to implement the projects worth Rs 111 lakh crore in next five years and honourable prime minister has dreamt of making the economy of Rs 5 trillion. With such a cartelisation by cement and steel industry it will be difficult to achieve the aim,” Gadkari said.

Real estate developers, for the last few months, have been alleging cartelisation by cement and steel manufacturers and seeking government intervention to regulate prices that have been rising.

According to him, regulatory authority for steel and cement industry was a good idea and the ultimate decision, however, needs to be taken up by the Finance Ministry and the office of Prime minister.

“But I can assure you that this has been taken very seriously and we will resolve it at the earliest,” he said at a virtual meeting with members of the Builders Association of India.

The developers’ body has also demanded the status of industry to the infrastructure sector.

According to BAI’s president Mu Mohan, the status would help them in solving major taxation and duty related issues.

Gadkari has assured the organization to look into it. The minister has also sought cooperation and proactive approach by the industry players in helping the government in achieving its goals in infrastructure sector.

“We have planned infrastructure projects worth Rs 111 lakh crore and road construction projects worth Rs 15 lakh crore. This would be a major boost to the infrastructure and construction industry. But the industry players should adopt innovative steps and proactive measures to reduce cost and complete projects within time frame. BAI’s role is important in that respect,” he added.

Gadkari also said that he had discussion over issue related to the Goods & Services Tax (GST) with the concerned departments.

“As far as the implementation of the GST is concerned, we have had a lot of discussion with the finance ministry. We are facing problems with the compliances and methods. The Finance Ministry has instructed NHAI and other government agencies to issue bids excluding part of the quoted bids so that the problems could be resolved. It has given noted direction that the future bids should be based on civil cost including GST, which would be paid separately. Detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been issued for pre-GST projects,” he said.

About the release of the bills, Gadkari has asked the body to have dialogues with the concerned state governments.

The minister also suggested the BAI and the contractors, industry players association with it to take steps to ensure that the newer innovations are taken up to decrease the cost of construction in the sector.

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