ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Aluminium-Unequal Exchange

OFFICIAL projections of demand and supply for aluminium extend undauntedly to 1994-95, and suggest that demand for aluminium in the country will rise by then to 950,000 tonnes whereas production will be around 700,000. Throughout the 1980s, at any rate, it seems clear that India will be forced to import aluminium. According to the Department of Mines, production of aluminium in 1980-81 will have been 2 lakh tonnes, as against an installed capacity of 3.25 lakh tonnes and licensed capacity of 4 lakh tonnes. The main reason advanced for the shortfall in capacity creation and capacity utilisation is said to be inadequate supply of power to smelters. The balance demand was met by imports of 1.30 lakh tonnes, at a cost of Rs 200 crore in foreign exchange. According to the aluminium industry, domestic demand will continue to outstrip production throughout the Sixth Plan period: demand will rise from 3 lakh tonnes in 1980-81 to 4.40 lakh tonnes in 1984-85, while production will rise from 2 lakh tonnes in 1980-81 to 3 lakh tonnes in 1984-85, The progressively increasing gap implies larger imports, especially as power supply will in all likelihood continue to be erratic. Ironically, the largest consumer of aluminium are the state electricity boards.

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