To meet the growing demand of cement in the country and curb prices, the government has speeded up the process of certification of foreign cement manufacturers.
This was stated by Ajay Dua, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion on the sidelines of a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) seminar today.
"Though demand for cement in the country has been increasing at 10-12% annually, supply is increasing only at 6-8% annually. This has created a gap in the demand and supply of cement," said Dua.
Dua further said that the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will now be granting certification to foreign cement manufacturers within two months. "Previously, the certification process took a long time," he added. A separate cell has been formed within the BIS to expedite the process.
Countries like Bangladesh and Bhutan had earlier applied for certification. However, their cement capacities were not enough to meet the demand supply gap in India. "Now, big manufacturers from Pakistan have also applied for certification. With increased availability, cement prices are expected to soften," Dua said.
He added that easing of cement import norms was being demanded by builders and state governments for some time now. The government has already brought down the import duty and countervailing duty on cement to zero. However, due to the long drawn BIS certification procedures, not much commodity was able to enter the market.