The Indian government on Wednesday said that due to its various measures cement prices have stabilised, as rates went up only 2.67 per cent during March-October this year.
In a written reply to the Lower House of Parliament, Minister of State for Industry Ashwani Kumar said the government has taken a number of measures to increase the supply of cement.
The measures include reducing the import duty to ’nil’ and notifying MMTC and Tamilnadu Cements Corporation Ltd to import cement and augment domestic supply.
"With these measures, the prices of have stabilised to a large extent, showing an increase of only 2.67 per cent between March and October, 2007," the Minister said.
The average price of cement increased by 46.2 per cent to Rs 231 (US$5.87) per bag in October 2007 compared to Rs 158 a bag in December 2005 due to demand-supply mismatch.
Quoting the Cement Manufacturers Association, Kumar said production increased to 155.66Mt in 2006-07 from 141.81Mt in 2005-06 and 127.57Mt in 2004-05.
Replying to impact of rise in prices on construction industry, Kumar said, "any increase in the costs of inputs like cement, steel, etc. will have a consequential impact on the construction industry."