Union Steel & Mines Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar Chairs Meeting to Provide Academic Backbone to Iron and Steel Industry
Tracing the NDA government’s vision of ‘Make in India’ to its very roots, Ministry of Steel has stepped up efforts to ‘Think in India’, to help provide a strong and scientific grounding to the Indian iron and steel industry. Union Minister of Steel & Mines Shri Narendra Singh Tomar discussed the report of Expert Committee, comprising luminaries from academia, bureaucracy and industry, to revive and upgrade the working of Biju Patnaik National Steel Institute (BPNSI). The Committee, which was constituted soon after the new government took charge, presented its report at Udhyog Bhawan today. Complimenting the Committee members for their rigorous research and recommendations, Shri Tomar said, “The suggestions made by the Committee are holistic, and necessary to provide a pool of knowledge and skill for achieving 300 million tonnes of production by 2025. I urge Committee members to chalk out remaining details to expedite the process.” The meeting was attended by Secretary (Steel) Shri Rakesh Singh, senior officers of the Steel Ministry and members of the Expert Committee entrusted with the task of suggesting the upgradation plan. The revival of BPNSI is a second bold move made by the government in modernising the steel industry. In October 2014, the Ministry approved a Steel Research & Technology Mission of India (SRTMI) to increase R&D investment from the present level of 0.2-0.3 % of turnover to international benchmark of 1-2 % of turnover by leading Indian companies.
Espousing the urgent need for India to invest in R&D, the Committee suggested ways to convert BPNSI into a think-tank for Indian iron and steel industry, with special emphasis on R&D, applied education and industry acclimatization. Salient recommendations made by Committee, which were raised for discussion included:
· Upgradation of BPNSI to an Institute of National Importance (INI), for research and education in knowledge areas pertaining to steel sector, at par with the IITs. BPNSI to function as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Steel with minimum government intervention and industry driven curriculum.
· A two-tier campus infrastructure, built jointly by Centre, State and Industry, with a Main Campus and Satellite Campuses. The Main Campus to:
Ø offer B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD courses in different disciplines relevant to steel and allied industries, viz. mining, white goods, automotive, construction etc.
Ø have Central Research and Referral Facilities, Testing and Certification Centre and Research and Consultancy Centre
· The Satellite Campuses, planned to be located close to upstream and downstream manufacturing hubs, to:
Ø offer Diploma and Polytechnic courses to nurture technicians and supervisory staff for the steel industry, with provision for lateral entry to main campus for bright candidates
Ø act as a link between the main campus and the industry in solving problems and in sector specific research
While outlining the proposed tenets of BPNSI, Committee head Shri Sunil Kumar dwelled over the practicability aspects of BPNSI, such as one-third student time spent in internship, voluntary contribution of industry experts as adjunct faculty, thrust on social sciences to tackle environmental/ rehabilitation/ welfare issues and instilling multi-disciplinary focus for creating holistic workforce.
As per the proposal, the Main Campus when fully operational, with maximum student strength of 5,400, will be spread over an area of 500 acres, equipped with state of art working and living facilities to attract talented faculty and students. The Satellite Campuses, planned over an initial area of 20 acres, will have the potential to expand into full fledged campuses offering higher education in due course of time.
BPNSI was established by the Ministry in 2002 to promote excellence in steel industry. The Expert Committee constituted in July 2014 includes industry veterans like Chairman SAIL Shri CS Verma, Chairman JSW Steel Shri Sajjan Jindal, ex-Vice Chairman of Tata Steel Shri B Muthuraman, Directors of IIT Kharagpur & IIT Kanpur, National Institute of Advanced Studies & CSIR and Jt. Secretary (Steel) Shri Syedain Abbasi.
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