New Delhi : Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Steel and Petroleum & Natural Gas today chaireda webinar on “IspatiIrada: Enhancing steel usage with focus on construction and infrastructure sectors”. Minister of State for Steel Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste, Secretary, Steel, Senior officers from the Ministry of Steel, subject experts, industry leaders, academicians, researchers, large users and regulatorsalso participated in the webinar.Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pradhan said that the steel industry plays a fundamental role in the economic development of a nation. He said that India has become second largest producer of steel in the world, and has the capacity to build quality products, but per-capita consumption of steel in the country is almost one-third of the global average, and there is immense potential upside to it.Talking about the IspatiIrada, theMinister said, “Ispat is not just a material but it is a state of mind. India has an ‘IspatiIrada’ to be an inclusive developed nation.”He said that it is not a mere slogan, but a manifestation of the Government’s determination to strengthen the economy, ameliorate the condition of the poor, improve environment and enhance employment opportunities. He further stated that the collaborative branding campaign ‘IspatiIrada’ has the objective of promoting appropriate steel usage in the country,and aims to leverage usage of steel as an easy-to-use, environment-friendly, cost-effective, affordable and strength-giving material.The Minister said that we have to identify the opportunities and challenges in, increasing steel consumption. He said that Ministry of Steel has already discussed with key infrastructure ministries about more steel usage, and is engaging with various departments, state governments and other stakeholders. He called for “Make in Steel” through a transition to more steel intensive construction. India is investing big time in creating infrastructure for future across sectors like railways, roads, civil aviation, energy, which will further provide impetus to the steel consumption in the country. He informed that a working group will be set up which will regularly monitor the steps being taken to enhance the steel usage. He asked the Webinar participants to come with a few solid recommendations, which would be implemented.In his address, Shri Kulaste said that there is wide scope of increasing the consumption of steel in the country, particularly in the rural areas. The Consumption of steel in the rural areas is almost one-quarter of the national average. He said that the increase in steel consumption will give impetus to the economic activities, help in improving the environment, and provide employment opportunities. He said that the Government has announced National Infrastructure Pipeline of Rs. 103 lakh crore in the infrastructure sector, and this will lead to enhanced steel demand. Ministry of Steel is already in talks with other departments to increase steel usage. Quoting the example of Japan, which is earthquake-prone and uses upto 80% steel in its structures, Shri Kulaste said that the Steel provides strength and stability to them. He also said the steel industry will have to find ways to reduce the cost of construction.