Parliamentary Consultative Committee of Steel Ministry Meets

The Union Minister for Steel, Shri Virbhadra Singh chaired the meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry here yesterday. The topic of the meeting was “working of MECON Ltd., KIOCL Ltd. and Bird Group of Companies. 

Shri Virbhadra Singh said that the Indian Steel Sector has been showing steady and robust performance in the recent years. He said, it contributes about 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product and it employs over 5 lakh people. Today, India is the fourth largest producer of crude steel in the world, surpassing even some developed countries. India is expected to become the 2nd largest steel producing nation by 2012 with a targeted production capacity of 120 million tones, the Minister added. 

Informing the Members, he said, this is the second time that they are discussing the working of small Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) like MECON, KIOCL and Bird Group of Companies of his Ministry. In the last meeting we have discussed working of HSCL, MSTC and FSNL. With this meeting, we would complete initial round of discussion on working of all the Public Sector Undertakings under administrative control of his Ministry. The purpose of such meetings with PSUs is to highlight the constraints and elicit suggestions to bring about improvement in the working of steel PSUs as a whole, said the Minister. 

MECON Limited is the premier organization of the steel Ministry which aims to provide multi disciplinary design, engineering, consultancy and contracting services in the field of iron and steel, chemicals, etc. The profit before tax (PBT) of the company has also depicted significant growth in last six years. The profit after tax (PAT) of the company has increased to almost twelve times. Presently PAT is about Rs. 82.62 crore. 

KIOCL Limited which was earlier known as Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited, a Schedule A, Mini-ratna Category PSU had track record of making consistent profit and paying dividend over last two decades. To remain in the fray KIOCL has undertaken massive R&D works and in-house modification in its pellet plant so as to produce quality pellets from Hematite Iron Ore as against Magnetite ore concentrate which it had been getting from Kudremukh. Due to its consistent effort, it yielded result and now KIOCL is able to produce pellets with Donimalai ore. Currently, KIOCL is sourcing the Iron Ore Fines and Lumps from NMDC under a long term contract for the operation of the Pelletisation Plant and Blast Furnace Unit. Karnataka Government has allotted a 116.55 Ha. Mining block in Chickkanayakanahalli in Tumkur District to KIOCL. Karnataka Government is also considering allotting an Iron Ore Block in Ramandurga Iron Ore Deposit in Bellary District to KIOCL. 

Bird Group of Companies came under administrative control of the Ministry of Steel by virtue of the Bird and Company Limited (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings and other properties) Act, 1980. The Bird Group comprises seven Companies i.e. Eastern Investments Limited (EIL), The Orissa Minerals Development Company Limited (OMDC), The Bisra Stone Lime Company Limited (BSLC), The Karanpura Development Company Limited (KDCL), Scott and Saxby Limited (SSL), Burrakar Coal Company Limited (Burrakar) and Borrea Coal Company Limited (Borrea). Out of seven Companies, the first three Companies i.e. EIL, OMDC and BSLC are in operation and the other four Companies i.e. KDCL, SSL, Burrakar and Borrea are under liquidation. 

The Government has approved restructuring plan of Bird Group of Companies to consolidate the companies under Bird Group, namely, Eastern investments Limited (EIL), Orissa Minerals Development Company Limited (OMDC) and Bisra Stone Lime Company Ltd. (BSLC) into Government Companies/PSUs in a holding cum subsidiary structure under Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) for strengthening their management and subject them to general rules and guidelines of Department of Public Enterprises (DPE). Manpower planning and resource utilization in these companies are also envisaged to be streamlined for greater transparency and public accountability. As per the Cabinet decision, financial restructuring and change in shareholding pattern of EIL, OMDC and BSLC has been completed in such a manner that EIL has become a Government Company and also the holding company of OMDC and BSLC with effect from 19th March, 2010. The process of acquisition of requisite number of shares of EIL by the RINL to make EIL a subsidiary company of RINL is in progress. 

Some of the members, while appreciating the Corporate Social Responsibility work of the PSUs, asked to increase the allocation further for CSR activities in the field of health, housing, education, employment, safe drinking water, road and skill development for local people seriously. 

Members of Parliament who attended the meeting are: S/Shri Gorakhnath Pandey, Jitendra Singh Bundela, Naranbhai Kachhadia, Premchandra Guddu, Rakesh Sachan, Yashbant N.Singh Laguri from Lok Sabha and Shri Nandi Yellaiah, Shri Naresh Chandra Agarwal, Shri Sabir Ali from Rajya Sabha. 

Minister of State for Steel Shri A.Sai Prathap, Steel Secretary Shri P. K. Misra, senior officials of the Steel Ministry and MECON, KIOCL and Bird Group of Companies attended the meeting. 

Regional Directors Conference of Staff Selection Commission Begins Today

The Annual Conference of the Regional Directors of Staff Selection Commission (SSC) was inaugurated here today by Shri N.K. Raghupathy, Chairman of the Commission. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman informed that over 29.92 lakh candidates have already taken the examinations conducted by the SSC during the year 2010-11 which is almost double the number of candidates who took the examinations in the previous year i.e. 2009-10 when 13.29 lakh candidates appeared for the exams. He said that if the same trend continues, about 40 lakh candidates may take examinations conducted by the SSC by the year end i.e. March 2011. 

Shri Raghupathy said that the Commission has made special efforts for timely declaration of results and all results of the exams held till March 2010 have been declared. Some more results are in the offing, he added. The Chairman also informed that the number of selected candidates during 2010-11 (upto Nov-Dec) is 14898 (prov.). 

The Chairman said that the vastly improved performance of the Commission and increase in candidates are directly attributable to the major changes and decisions effected during 2009-10 and the current year. The restructuring of all examinations led to enormous increase in job applicants posing additional challenges for the Commission but the regional offices were able to meet the challenge effectively, he said. 

Shri Raghupathy said that the focus of the Commission at present is on completing the recruitment cycle (from advertisement to results) in six months for a single stage examination, in nine months for a two-stage examination and in twelve months for multi-stage examinations. 

The Commission revamped its website in October last year and all the results are placed on the website promptly and the marks of the qualified and non-qualified candidates are also uploaded as early as possible. In about last 15 months, the revamped website has attracted over 40 lakh hits which shows that it has proved to be user friendly and a major source of information to the candidates. 

Regional Offices have also been advised to place the admission certificates of all candidates on their websites at least two weeks before the date of the examination, with a view to inculcating a culture in the candidates to download them, obviating the need for postal dispatch of the admission certificates. 

Enumerating the challenges before the Commission, the Chairman said that regional offices as well as the Commission are facing acute shortage of manpower and there is also a lack of professional expertise. He said that the Commission has initiated the process of ISO Certification of regional offices which will enable them to focus on increasing ‘customer satisfaction’ and continual improvement in their internal processes. 

The Additional Secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Dr. S.K. Sarkar applauded the Commission’s performance specially during the last 18 months and said that reducing the cycle of examinations and recruitments is of vital importance and hoped that Commission will be able to achieve the targets in this regard. 

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