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

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Beyon Book-keeping

IF the price of coal is raised, can an increase in the price of steel be far behind? A steep increase in the price of coal, by some 25 per cent on average, was announced early this month. And now there is already talk of how imperative a rise in steel prices has become. The higher price of coal was justified on grounds of rise in input costs and wages. In the same vein, the case for raising steel prices is being prepared in terms of rise in cost of production, with the additional burden on account of the increase in coal prices itself amounting allegedly to Rs 100 crore in a year. Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), the holding company for the government- owned steel plants, is reportedly heading for a loss of Rs 400 crore in 1983-84, on top of a loss of Rs 106 crore last year. On the face of it, the case for a revision of steel prices then seems unassailable. There can be no justification, surely, for the public sector steel industry, and indirectly the govern ment exchequer, subsidising the users of steel on such a massive scale?

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