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Perform or perish: Steel Minister to top brass of PSUs

Monday, 20 February 2017
PTI

New Delhi: In a stern warning, Steel Minister Birendra Singh has asked PSUs, including SAIL, to 'perform or perish' saying complacency cannot be tolerated at a time when private players are excelling on various parameters.

Chairing a meeting of chiefs of top steel PSUs, the Minister pulled up public sector firms like SAIL and RINL for not only lagging behind on international benchmarks, but were behind their private counterparts and complacent in ramping up capacities.

"In production and productivity parameters, PSUs are far behind their counterparts in private sector. In terms of international benchmarks, performance of Indian steel companies is very poor," Singh told PSU top brasses as per the ministry sources. Providing specific example, the Minister said domestic steel giant SAIL could barely achieve blast furnace productivity at 1.7 tonnes per cubic meter per day (tpcm/d) in contrast to over 2.5 tpcm/d by private counterparts and global standards of over 3 tpcm/d.

Also indicting SAIL for slow progress in modernisation as well as ramping up of capacity, the Minister said deadlines were missed one after another which cannot be tolerated anymore, according to the ministry sources. Singh, who assumed charge of the Ministry some seven months back also warned, "Non-performance can not be accepted".

It is a question of survival 'and stressed steel PSUs need to be proactive, not reactive' as it is 'a do or die situation' and they 'work in perform or perish mode to retain competitive edge'. Irked at delays in all major projects, the Minister announced that the Secretary Steel will finalise a mechanism to strictly assess individual performances as per outputs by the top brass.

Harsh on non-performers, Singh went on to the extent that six individual performance of all top management officials will be assessed based on outcomes, and they will be made responsible for non-achievement of deliverables.  

The Minister also pulled up SAIL for inability to ramp up capacity and thereby failing to meet the demands from major customers terming it 'unacceptable', the sources said. Also, he warned RINL for not utilising their full capacities.

On ICVL (International Coal Ventures Ltd), Singh directed that no more time should be wasted in operationalising the coal assets including Mozambique mines that has not yet begun production. ICVL is a join venture formed by five PSUs including SAIL, RINL and NMDC to scout assets abroad for securing raw material. The Minister also expressed unhappiness over delays in operationlising SAIL-ArcelorMittal joint venture besides delays in steel processing units saying henceforth complacency would not be tolerated.

On NMDC, he said the ministry was inundated with complaints about 'differential iron ore pricing' and should be resolved soon. He directed NMDC to develop more resources for a secure future. NMDC is the country's top iron ore miner.

Also, the Minister made it clear that performance of all PSUs will be assessed on monthly basis and no official will be allowed to sit over files keeping things pending. Apart from the CMDs, Directors and CEOs from PSUs, those who attended the meeting held on Friday included key officials, include Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma and Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor, Steel Saraswati Prasad.

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