Iron and steel industry in India

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The iron and steel industries are among the most important industries in India. During 2014 through 2016, India was the third largest producer of raw steel [1] and the largest producer of sponge iron in the world. The industry produced 82.68 million tons of total finished steel and 9.7 million tons of raw iron. Most iron and steel in India is produced from iron ore. [2]

Contents

Policy for the sector is governed by the Indian Ministry of Steel, which concerns itself with coordinating and planning the growth and development of the iron and steel industry, both in the public and private sectors; formulation of policies with respect to production, pricing, distribution, import and export of iron and steel, ferro alloys and refractories; and the development of input industries relating to iron ore, manganese ore, chrome ore and refractories etc., required mainly by the steel industry.

Most of the public sector undertakings market their steel through the Steel Authority of India (SAIL). The Indian steel industry was de-licensed and de-controlled in 1991 and 1992 respectively.

Steel plants

There are two types of steel plants - mini steel plants and integrated steel plants. About half of the country's steel is produced by medium and small enterprises. [3]

Mini steel plants are smaller, have electric furnaces and use steel scrap as well as sponge iron. They have re-rollers that use steel ingots as well. They produce Carbon steel and alloy Steel of certain specifications. There are around 650 mini steel plants in India.

Integrated steel plants are large, handle everything in one complex - from putting together raw material to steel making, rolling and shaping. Iron ore, coke, and flux are fed into the blast furnace and heated. The coke reduces the iron oxide in the ore to metallic iron, and the molten mass separates into slag and iron. Some of the iron from the blast furnace is cooled, and marketed as pig iron; the rest flows into basic oxygen furnaces, where it is converted into steel. Iron and steel scrap may be added to both to the blast furnace and to the basic iron furnace. There are about five integrated SAIL plants in India.

Current steel plants in India

There are more than 50 iron and steel industries in India. Given below are major steel plants:

NameLocationOperator
Jindal Steel and Power Limited Raigarh, Chhattisgarh JSPL
Jindal Steel and Power Limited Angul, Odisha
Tata Steel Limited Jamshedpur, Jharkhand Tata Steel
Tata Steel Limited Kalinganagar, Odisha Tata Steel
Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant Bhadravati, Karnataka SAIL
Durgapur Steel Plant Durgapur, West Bengal SAIL
Bhilai Steel Plant Bhilai steel city, Chhattisgarh

SAIL

Bokaro Steel Plant Jharkhand SAIL
Chandrapur Ferro Alloy Plant Chandrapur, Maharashtra SAIL
IISCO Steel Plant Asansol, West Bengal SAIL
Salem Steel Plant Tamil Nadu SAIL
Rourkela Steel Plant Odisha SAIL
JSW Steel Hospet, Bellary, Karnataka JSW Steel
Vizag Steel Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited
Essar Steel India Limited Hazira, Gujarat
JSW Steel Tarapur, Boisar, Maharashtra JSW Steel
JSW Steel Dolvi, Dolvi, Maharashtra JSW Steel

Structure

The iron and steel industry in India is organised into three categories: main producers, other major producers, and secondary producers. In 2004-05, the main producers i.e. SAIL, TISCO and RINL had a combined capacity of around 50% of India’s total steel production capacity and production. The other major producers ESSAR, ISPAT and JVSL account for around 20% of the total steel production capacity.

National steel policy

National steel policy – 2005 has the long-term goal of having a modern and efficient steel industry of world standards in India. The focus is to achieve global competitiveness not only in terms of cost, quality, and product-mix but also in terms of global benchmarks of efficiency and productivity. The Policy aims to achieve over 100 million metric tonnes of steel per year by 2019-20 from the 2004-05 level of 38 mt. This implies an annual growth of around 7.3% per year from 2004-5 onward.

The strategic goal above is justified because steel consumption in the world, around 1000 million metric tonnes in 2004, is expected to grow at 3.0% per annum to reach 1,395 million metric tonnes in 2015, compared to 2% per annum in the past fifteen years. China will continue to have a dominant share of the demand for world steel. Domestically, the growth rate of steel production over the past fifteen years was 7.0% per annum. The projected rate of 7.3% per annum in India compares well with the projected national income growth rate of 7-8% per annum, given an income elasticity of steel consumption of around 1. [4]

Subsequent steel policies have been drafted each year. The Indian Ministry of Steel has released draft National Steel Policy (NSP), 2017. The problems identified in this sector include:

The aim of the draft NSP is to develop a self-sufficient steel industry that is globally competitive. The policy proposes setting up Greenfield Steel Plants along the Indian coastline under the Sagarmala Project. This has been proposed in order to tap cheap imported raw materials such as coking coal and export the output without incurring huge cost burden. The policy has also proposed the idea of gas-based steel plants and use of electric furnaces in order to bring down the use of coking coal in blast furnaces. The policy targets to achieve production of 300 million tonnes by 2030-31.

Production

The steel industry in India was de-licensed and decontrolled in the years 1991 and 1992 respectively. In 2014-15, production for sale of total finished steel (alloy + non-alloy) was 91.46 million tonnes, a growth of 4.3% over 2013-14. Production for sale of pig iron in 2014-15 was 9.7 million tonnes, a growth of 22% over 2013-14. India is the largest producer of sponge iron in the world with the coal-based route accounting for 90% of total sponge iron production in the country. Data on production for the sale of pig iron, sponge iron and total finished steel (alloy + non-alloy) are given below for last five years.

Production (in million tonnes)

Category2010-112011-122012-132013-142014-15
Pig Iron5.685.3716.8707.9509.694
Sponge Iron25.0819.6314.3318.2020.38
Total Finished Steel(alloy+non-alloy)68.6275.7081.6887.6791.46

Steel prices

Price regulation of iron and steel was abolished on 16 January 1992. [5] Since then steel prices have been determined by an interplay of market forces. Domestic steel prices are influenced by trends in raw material prices, demand, supply conditions in the market, and international price trends among others. An Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) is functioning in the Ministry of Steel, under the chairmanship of the secretary (Steel) to monitor and coordinate major steel investments in the country. As a facilitator, the government monitors the steel market conditions and adopts fiscal and other policy measures based on its assessment. Currently, basic excise duty for steel is set at 12.5% and there is no export duty on steel items. The government has also imposed an export duty of 30% on all forms of iron ore except low grades, which carry a duty of 10%, while iron ore pellets have an export duty of 5% to control ad-hoc exports of the items and to conserve them for the long-term requirements of the domestic steel industry. It has also raised the import duty on most steel imports by 2.5%, taking the import duty on carbon steel, flat products to 10% and that on long products to 7.5%.

Import and export

Imports

Iron and steel are freely importable as per the extant policy. There has been a steady increase in the amount of steel imported into the country to meet demands.

Imports (in Million Tonnes)

Category2010-112011-122012-132013-142014-15
Total Finished Steel6.666.867.935.459.32

Exports

Iron and steel are freely exportable. In the years 2010-11, India exported about 3.64 million tonnes of steel; further, in 2011-12 it rose to 4.59 million tonnes. 2012-13 and 2013-14 did not see a sharp rise with exports of 5.37 and 5.98 million tonnes respectively. The exports declined in the year 2014-15, falling to 5.59 million tonnes.

Exports (in Million Tonnes)

Category2010-112011-122012-132013-142014-15
Total Finished Steel3.644.595.375.985.59

History

Early

Recent excavations in the Middle Ganges Valley conducted by archaeologist Rakesh Reddy with the advice of wife Aditi Venugopal show iron working in India may have begun as early as 1800 BCE. [6] In fact, the practice of manufacturing practical metals first began in India. [7] Archaeological sites in India, such as Malhar, Dadupur, Raja Nala Ka Tila, and Lahuradewa in the state of Uttar Pradesh show iron implements in the period between 1800 BCE-1200 BCE. [6] Sahi (1979: 366) concluded that by the early 13th century BCE, iron smelting was definitely practiced on a larger scale in India, suggesting that the date the technology's early period may well be placed as early as the 16th century BCE. [6]

Some of the early iron objects found in India are dated to 1400 BCE by employing radiocarbon dating. [8] Spikes, knives, daggers, arrow-heads, bowls, spoons, saucepans, axes, chisels, tongs, door fittings etc. ranging from 600 BCE—200 BCE have been discovered at several archaeological sites. [8] In southern India (present day Mysore) iron appeared as early as the 12th or 11th century BCE. These developments were too early for any significant close contact with the northwest of the country. [8]

The beginning of the 1st millennium BCE saw extensive developments in iron metallurgy in India. [9] Technological advancement and mastery of iron metallurgy was achieved during this period of peaceful settlements. The years between 322—185 BCE saw several advancements made to the technology involved in metallurgy during the politically stable Maurya period (322—185 BCE). Greek historian Herodotus (431—425 BCE) wrote the first western account of the use of iron in India. [9]

Perhaps as early as 300 BCE — although certainly by 200 CE — high quality steel was being produced in southern India by what Europeans would later call the crucible technique. [10] Using this system, high-purity wrought iron, charcoal, and glass were mixed in a crucible and heated until the iron melted and absorbed the carbon. [10] The first crucible steel was the wootz steel that originated in India before the beginning of the common era. [11] Wootz steel was widely exported and traded throughout ancient Europe, China, and the Arab world, and became particularly famous in the Middle East, where it became known as Damascus steel. Archaeological evidence suggests that this manufacturing process was already in existence in south India well before the Christian era. [12] [13]

Medieval

The world's first iron pillar was the Iron Pillar of Delhi erected during the time of Chandragupta Vikramaditya (375–413). [14] The swords manufactured in Indian workshops are mentioned in the written works of Muhammad al-Idrisi (flourished 1154). [15] Indian Blades made of Damascus steel found their way into Persia. [16] During the 14th century, European scholars studied Indian casting and metallurgy technology. [17]

Indian metallurgy under the Mughal emperor Akbar (reign: 1556-1605) produced excellent small firearms. [18] Gommans (2002) holds that Mughal handguns were stronger and more accurate than their European counterparts. [19]

In 1667 it has been estimated 5 tons of steel, and 25 tons of iron ware were exported from India. [20] While the Dutch are reported to have exported 46 tonnes of Wootz steel during the 17th century. [20]

Colonial era

Modern steel making in India began with the setting of first blast furnace of India at Kulti in 1870 and production began in 1874, which was set up by Bengal Iron Works. While first modern steel manufacturing plant was set up at the Gun & Shell Factory (GSF), in 1801, [21] and along with the Metal & Steel Factory (MSF), at Calcutta, [22] both still belonging to the Ordnance Factory Board. All had followed on from the establishment of Coal mining in India, in the late 18th century, which eliminated the need for approximately 14.5 tonnes of charcoal to be created to smelt each tonne of iron, [23] and offering a source of power for the trains and river boats used to carry the ores, and smelted metals. The Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) was established by Dorabji Tata in 1907, as part of his father's conglomerate. By 1939 it operated the largest steel plant in the British Empire, and accounted for a significant proportion of the 2 million tons pig iron and 1.13 of steel produced annually. [24] The company launched a major modernisation and expansion program in 1951. [25]

Native Arms production

In The New Cambridge History of India: Science, Technology and Medicine in Colonial India, scholar David Arnold examines the effect of the British Raj in Indian mining and metallurgy: [26]

With the partial exception of coal, foreign competition, aided by the absence of tariff barriers and lack of technological innovation, held back the development of mining and metal-working technology in India until the early 20th century. The relatively crude, labour-intensive nature of surviving mining techniques contributed to the false impression that India was poorly endowed with mineral resources or that they were inaccessible or otherwise difficult and unremunerative to work. But the fate of mining and metallurgy was affected by political as well as by economic and technological considerations.

The British were aware of the historical role metal-working had played in supporting indigenous powers through the production of arms and ammunition. This resulted in the introduction of then Arms Act in 1878 which restricted access to firearms. They also sought to limit India’s ability to mine and work metals for use in future wars and rebellions in areas like metal-rich Rajasthan. India's skill in casting brass cannon had made Indian artillery a formidable adversary from the reign of Akbar to the Maratha and Sikh wars 300 years later. By the early 19th century most of the mines in Rajasthan were abandoned and the mining caste was ‘extinct’. [26]

During the Company period, military opponents were eliminated and princely states extinguished, and the capacity to mine and work metals declined, largely due to British tariffs. As late as the Rebellion of 1857, because the mining of lead for ammunition at Ajmer was perceived as a threat, the British closed mines. [26]

Modern era

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a believer in Harold Laski's Fabian socialism, decided that the technological revolution in India needed maximisation of steel production. He, therefore, formed a government owned company, Hindustan Steel Limited (HSL) and set up three steel plants in the 1950s. [27]

The Ordnance Factory Board continues to be one of the largest metallurgical organisations of India with its dedicated metallurgical factories at Heavy Alloy Penetrator Project, Trichy for non-ferrous metals such as tungsten for anti-submarine warfare and tank ammunition the only plant in India, [28] Grey Iron Foundry, Jabalpur, for making engines and armoured body of vehicles [29] Ordnance Factory Muradnagar for special alloys and steel, [30] Ordnance Factory Ambajhari for aluminium, brass and other special alloys for aerospace, rockets, bombs and missiles. [31] The premier Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) of the DRDO started at the Metal & Steel Factory, Kolkata, later to be shifted to Hyderabad. [32]

The Indian steel industry began expanding into Europe in the 21st century. In January 2007 India's Tata Steel made a successful $11.3 billion offer to buy European steel maker Corus Group. In 2006 Mittal Steel Company (based in London but with Indian management) acquired Arcelor for $34.3 billion to become the world's biggest steel maker, ArcelorMittal, with 10% of the world's output. [33]

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

Damascus steel type of steel used in Middle Eastern swordmaking

Damascus steel was the forged steel of the blades of swords smithed in the Near East from ingots of Wootz steel imported from Southern India and Tamraparni. These swords are characterized by distinctive patterns of banding and mottling reminiscent of flowing water, or in a "ladder" or "teardrop" pattern. Such blades were reputed to be tough, resistant to shattering, and capable of being honed to a sharp, resilient edge.

Steel alloy made by combining iron and other elements

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, and sometimes other elements. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, it is a major component used in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, trains, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.

Iron ore ore rich in iron or the element Fe

Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metallic iron can be economically extracted. The ores are usually rich in iron oxides and vary in colour from dark grey, bright yellow, or deep purple to rusty red. The iron is usually found in the form of magnetite (Fe
3
O
4
, 72.4% Fe), hematite (Fe
2
O
3
, 69.9% Fe), goethite (FeO(OH), 62.9% Fe), limonite (FeO(OH)·n(H2O), 55% Fe) or siderite (FeCO3, 48.2% Fe).

Steelmaking process for producing steel from iron ore and scrap

Steelmaking is the process of producing steel from iron ore and/or scrap. In steelmaking, impurities such as nitrogen, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur and excess carbon are removed from the sourced iron, and alloying elements such as manganese, nickel, chromium, carbon and vanadium are added to produce different grades of steel. Limiting dissolved gases such as nitrogen and oxygen and entrained impurities in the steel is also important to ensure the quality of the products cast from the liquid steel.

Crucible steel type of steel

Crucible steel is steel made by melting pig iron, iron, and sometimes steel, often along with sand, glass, ashes, and other fluxes, in a crucible. In ancient times steel and iron were impossible to melt using charcoal or coal fires, which could not produce temperatures high enough. However, pig iron, having a higher carbon content thus a lower melting point, could be melted, and by soaking wrought iron or steel in the liquid pig-iron for a long time, the carbon content of the pig iron could be reduced as it slowly diffused into the iron. Crucible steel of this type was produced in South and Central Asia during the medieval era. This generally produced a very hard steel, but also a composite steel that was inhomogeneous, consisting of a very high-carbon steel and a lower-carbon steel. This often resulted in an intricate pattern when the steel was forged, filed or polished, with possibly the most well-known examples coming from the wootz steel used in Damascus swords. The steel was often much higher in carbon content and in quality in comparison with other methods of steel production of the time because of the use of fluxes.

Wootz steel

Wootz steel is a crucible steel characterized by a pattern of bands. These bands are formed by sheets of microscopic carbides within a tempered martensite or pearlite matrix in higher carbon steel, or by ferrite and pearlite banding in lower carbon steels. It was a pioneering steel alloy developed in Southern India and Sri Lanka in the 6th century BC and exported globally. It was also known in the ancient world by many different names including ukku, Hindvi steel, Hinduwani steel, Teling steel and seric iron.

Steel Authority of India company

Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is an Indian state-owned steel making company based in New Delhi, India. It is a public sector undertaking, owned and operated by the Government of India with an annual turnover of INR 66,267 Crore for fiscal year 2018-19. Incorporated on 24 January 1974, SAIL has 71,021 employees. With an annual production of 16.30 million metric tons, SAIL is the 20th largest steel producer in the world and the 3rd largest in India. The Hot Metal production capacity of the company will further increase and is expected to reach a level of 50 million tonnes per annum by 2025. Sri Anil Kumar Chaudhary is the current Chairman of SAIL.

Bloomery early form of iron smelter

A bloomery is a type of furnace once used widely for smelting iron from its oxides. The bloomery was the earliest form of smelter capable of smelting iron. Bloomeries produce a porous mass of iron and slag called a bloom. The mix of slag and iron in the bloom, termed sponge iron, is usually consolidated and further forged into wrought iron. Blast furnaces, which produce pig iron, have largely superseded bloomeries.

Ferroalloy refers to various alloys of iron with a high proportion of one or more other elements such as manganese (Mn), aluminium (Al), or silicon (Si). They are used in the production of steels and alloys. The alloys impart distinctive qualities to steel and cast iron or serve important functions during production and are, therefore, closely associated with the iron and steel industry, the leading consumer of ferroalloys. The leading producers of ferroalloys in 2014 were China, South Africa, India, Russia and Kazakhstan, which accounted for 84% of the world production. World production of ferroalloys was estimated as 52.8 million tonnes in 2015.

History of metallurgy in the Indian subcontinent

The history of metallurgy in the Indian subcontinent began prior to the 3rd millennium BCE and continued well into the British Raj. Metals and related concepts were mentioned in various early Vedic age texts. The Rigveda already uses the Sanskrit term Ayas (metal). The Indian cultural and commercial contacts with the Near East and the Greco-Roman world enabled an exchange of metallurgic sciences. With the advent of the Mughals, India's Mughal Empire further improved the established tradition of metallurgy and metal working in India.

ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih company

Kryvorizhstal is Ukraine's largest integrated steel company located in the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih.

IISCO Steel Plant of Steel Authority of India Limited is an integrated steel plant located at Burnpur, a neighbourhood in Asansol city, in the Asansol subdivision of Paschim Bardhaman district, West Bengal, India.

Mining in Iran

Mining in Iran is underdeveloped, yet the country is one of the most important mineral producers in the world, ranked among 15 major mineral-rich countries, holding some 68 types of minerals, 37 billion tonnes of proven reserves and more than 57 billion tonnes of potential reserves worth $770 billion in 2014. Mineral production contributes only 0.6 per cent to the country's GDP. Add other mining-related industries and this figure increases to just four per cent (2005). Many factors have contributed to this, namely lack of suitable infrastructure, legal barriers, exploration difficulties, and government control over all resources.

Ferrous metallurgy heavy industry that deals with the production of steel

Ferrous metallurgy is the metallurgy of iron and its alloys. It began far back in prehistory. The earliest surviving iron artifacts, from the 4th millennium BC in Egypt, were made from meteoritic iron-nickel. It is not known when or where the smelting of iron from ores began, but by the end of the 2nd millennium BC iron was being produced from iron ores from Sub-Saharan Africa to China. The use of wrought iron was known by the 1st millennium BC, and its spread marked the Iron Age. During the medieval period, means were found in Europe of producing wrought iron from cast iron using finery forges. For all these processes, charcoal was required as fuel.

Ordnance Factory Board Defence Production complex in India

Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) consisting of the Indian Ordnance Factories, is an industrial organisation, functioning under the Department of Defence Production of Ministry of Defence, Government of India. It is engaged in research, development, production, testing, marketing and logistics of a comprehensive product range in the areas of air, land and sea systems. OFB comprises forty-one ordnance factories, nine training institutes, three regional marketing centres and four regional controllerates of safety, which are spread all across the country. Every year, 18 March is celebrated as the Ordnance Factory Day in India.

The Ministry of Steel, a branch of Government of India, is the apex body for formulating all policies regarding steel production, distribution and pricing in India. As of June 2019, the ministry is headed by a minister of cabinet rank, Dharmendra Pradhan and is assisted by a Minister of State, Faggan Singh Kulaste.

Metal production in Ukraine

Metal production, in particular iron and steel industry, is the dominant heavy industry in Ukraine. Ukraine is the world's eighth largest producer and third largest exporter of iron and steel (2007). Ukrainian iron and steel industry accounts for around 2% of worldwide crude steel output, 5% to 6% of the national gross domestic product and 34% of Ukrainian export revenue. In 2007 it employed 420,000 people – 10% of industrial labor and 2% of the total workforce. It has the highest, by a wide margin, revealed comparative advantage of all branches of the Ukrainian economy. The industry peaked at 42.8 million tonnes in 2007 but has been gravely affected by the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and declined to 29.8 million tonnes in 2009.

MMTC Ltd

MMTC Ltd., Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India, is one of the two highest earners of foreign exchange for India and India's largest public sector trading body. Not only handling the export of primary products such as coal, iron ore, and manufactured agro and industrial products, MMTC also imports important commodities such as ferrous and nonferrous metals for industry, and agricultural fertilizers. MMTC's diverse trade activities cover Third Country Trade, Joint Ventures and Link Deals and all modern forms of international trading. The Company has a vast international trade network, spanning almost in all countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania, America and also includes a wholly owned international subsidiary in Singapore, MTPL. It is one of the Miniratnas companies.

The metallurgy branch of Russian industry involves about 5% of Russia's GDP, about 18% of industrial production and about 14% of exports. The volume of metallurgical production was 1.87 trillion rubles (2009). Investments in fixed assets in metallurgy were 280 billion rubles (2008). The average salary in the metallurgical industry was 23,258 rubles / month.

In 2014, the United States was the world’s third-largest producer of raw steel, and the sixth-largest producer of pig iron. The industry produced 29 million metric tons of pig iron and 88 million tons of steel. Most iron and steel in the United States is now made from iron and steel scrap, rather than iron ore. The United States is also a major importer of iron and steel, as well as iron and steel products.

References

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