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After independence, successive governments placed great emphasis on the development of a steel industry. In FY 1991, the six major plants, of which five were in the public sector, produced 10 million tons. The rest of the steel production, 4.7 million tons, came from 180 small plants, almost all of which were in the private sector. Steel production more than doubled during the 1980s but still did not meet demand in FY 1991, when 2.7 million tons were imported. In the mid-1990s, the government is seeking private-sector investment in new steel plants. Production is projected to increase substantially as the result of plans to set up a 1 million ton steel plant and three pig-iron plants totalling 600,000 tons capacity in West Bengal, with Chinese technical assistance and financial investment.
The aluminum industry grew from 5,000 tons a year at independence to 483,000 tons in FY 1992, of which 113,000 tons were exported. Analysts believe the industry has a good long-term future because of India's abundant supply of bauxite.
Fertilizer and Petrochemicals
The fertilizer industry is another major industrial sector. In FY 1991, production reached 7.4 million tons of nitrogen and 2.6 million tons of phosphate. In the early 1990s, an increasing share of fertilizer production came from private-sector plants. Substantial imports were necessary in FY 1990, but the prospects for expansion of domestic production are good.
In the early 1990s, the petrochemical industry was expanding rapidly. It produces a wide variety of thermoplastics, elastomers, synthetic fibers, and chemicals. Substantial imports, however, are required to meet domestic demand. Analysts forecast a major expansion in production during the 1990s.
Data as of September 1995