The Iron and Steel industry are the two most important and basic industries in India. These are also one of the main contributors to the economic development of the country. From construction to manufacturing, almost all industries have to depend on them. But have you ever wondered, how old is the steel industry in India?
Here’s a brief overview:
1. History of steel in India dates back to 400 BC. At that time, Indian archers were a part of the Greek army. They used arrows tipped with steel. There is much more evidence that Indians had the knowledge of steel-making even before the advent of Christ. Archeologists discovered many pieces of evidence in Mesopotamia and Egypt that prove the fact that mankind knew the usage of iron and steel for more than 6,000 years.
2. It was in 1874 when the first attempt to revive the steel industry in India was made. In that year the Bengal Iron Works (BIW) started its journey at Kulti in Asansol, West Bengal. However, in 1830 a foreigner called Joshua Marshall Heath set up a small steel manufacturing plant at Porto Novo, Madras.
3. The BIW was acquired by Bengal Iron and Steel Company in 1889. Soon, it became a success story. In 1900, the plant produced 40,000 tonnes of pig iron. It continued to produce steel; Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO) acquired it in 1936.
4. August 1907 was a golden day for India’s iron and steel industry. It was on that day when the Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) were formed. It was formed as a Swadeshi venture and was supposed to produce 120,000 tonnes of pig iron.
5. The then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru believed that for development, India needs to maximize its steel production. It was then he formed a Government owned company called Hindustan Steel Limited (HSL). Three steel plants were set up in the 1950s.
6. The government changed their industrial policy once in 1956 and then in 1991. From 1992, Iron and steel industry was included in the list of “High Priority” industry. The policies bore fruit very soon. In 1997-98, India’s steel production went up to 23.37 million tonnes from a mere 1.1 million tonnes in1951.
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