The steel ministry has extended the deadline for submission of applications to avail of benefits under the Rs 6,322 crore production-linked incentives (PLI) scheme for specialty steel by a month to July 31. This is the fifth time the deadline is extended.
Sources said a delay in the preparation of final guidelines under the scheme has been instrumental for repeated extensions.
The cabinet approved the scheme on July 22, 2021, and it was notified on July 29. At the very outset, the application window was kept open for three months from December 29. But in between, the scheme guidelines were modified partly following consultation with the industry. These modified guidelines are yet to be approved and finalised.
For the second time, the steel ministry extended the last day for receipt of application to April 30 “to enable wider industry participation and applicability of the scheme.” The third extension was done for a month till May 31 and the fourth till June 30 and now, it has been extended for the fifth time to July 31, again by a month.
Specialty steel is a value-added variety wherein normal finished steel is worked upon by way of coating, plating, heat treatment, etc to convert it into high value-added steel for use in various strategic sectors such as defence, space, power and automobiles among others. India meets the domestic with imports with an annual forex outgo of around Rs 30,000 crore.
Coated products, high-strength/wear-resistant steel, speciality rails, alloy steel products and electrical steel are the broad five target categories under the scheme.
The government has already deferred the scheme by a year. Instead of 2022-23, the five-year scheme will now commence from 2023-24. The release of the incentives under the scheme will start from 2024-25 instead of 2023-24 as proposed in the scheme guideline issued earlier.