140 SOCIAL SCIENTIST
progress, judged by any standard. In 1975, a year of recession in capitalist countries, India produced about 6.5 million tonnes of ingot steel which was about 1 per cent of world production.
WORLD PRODUCTION OF STEEL
(Million tonnes in ingots)
Country 1971 1974 1975
USSR 120.00 136.30 141.00
USA 109.70 103.80 83.10
Japan 88.60 95.60 84.50
West Germany 40.30 53.30 40.40
China 21.00 27.00 30.00
Poland 12.60 14.80 15.10
Czechoslovakia 12.00 13.70 14.30
India 5.95 5.72 6.26
WORLD TOTAL 582.30 682.00 620.00
SOURCE: The Economic Times, 10 August 1976; J Ghandy, Steel, Publications Division, Government of India.
If per capita consumption of steel is taken as an index of prosperity and industrialization of a country,, India lags far behind, and what is worse, per capita consumption has appreciably declined in the last decade.
What are the factors behind the poor performance? The answers, ;
apart from reflections on certain aspects of the iron and steel industry, are bound to reveal interesting facts about the social and political forces which shape its dimensions and growth.
STEEL UNDER THE FIVE TEAR PLANS
At the time of independence, India had a total annual capacity of about 1.3 million tonnes of ingot steel. The period immediately after was one of stagnation for the industry. The First Five Year Plan with its emphasis on agriculture and irrigation did not attach much importance to steel. In the public sector, although the plan envisaged the erection of a new steel mill at Rourkela nothing came of it: the Mysore Iron and Steel Works (MISW) was to triple its output by 1955 but eventually this objective also was scrapped. In the private sector, mills were to increase their capacity by about 50 per cent: Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO) did carry through its expansion programme and Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) undertook new investments to rehabilitate plant and equipment that had deteriorated badly since the Second World War. On the whole, against a targeted increase of 6.7 lakh tons of finished steel, the actuals were about 3.0 lakhs, or only 45 per cent.