I am very pleased to share with you some thoughts through our journey in the year2016-17.
The year 2016-17 was an eventful year for the country as a whole and for us at KICML.We faced signi cant headwinds but acted with buoyancy. We stayed tough and grew stronger.Against a backdrop of global turbulence and sluggish growth India stands out as a havenof stability and an outpost of opportunity. During 2016-17 although our economy wastemporarily hit by demonetisation but we continued to remain as one of the world's fastestgrowing major economy backed by a good rainfall and rising exports. That's a remarkableachievement by any measure; and even by conservative estimates the economy has thepotential to grow at around 8% going forward.
India's steel sector posted a robust 11% growth in production in 2016-17 at 101.2 MTeven as domestic consumption remained anaemic mainly due to poor off-take from the end-usesegments like construction automobiles and white goods sectors. Exports more than doubledduring the year to 8.24 MT from 4.07 MT a year ago. Imports on the other hand havedeclined by 37% to 7.42 MT during the year making India a net exporter of steel. Whilegovernments' series of measures to rein in imports have yielded results; exports were morethan a compulsion for the domestic industry to substitute subdued demand within.
In the Union Budget 2016-17 the Government of India has proposed to spend more than Rs2.21 trillion on roads and railways. In addition India's automobile industry witnessed arebound in demand among emerging economies. Such a scenario augurs well for the domesticsteel sector. Other initiatives of the Government such as Housing for All by 2022 Powerfor All by 2019 100 Smart Cities by 2022 and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and UrbanTransformation (AMRUT) are likely to drive steel demand signi cantly. From the edgling onemillion tonne industry at the time of Independence India's steel sector has now risen tobe the third largest producer of crude steel in the world. This is a proud moment for allof us. At KICML we are committed to partner the nation's journey from strength tostrength.
In the coming nancial year 2017-18 steel production is expected to remain higher. Anincrease in infrastructure allocation by the government in the Union Budget 2017-18 isexpected to drive the pace of construction and infrastructure in the country. Apart fromthis the National Steel Policy 2017 released by the government also aims to increasesteel production. Thus both production and consumption of steel is expected to remainbuoyant in 2017-18.
Let me share with you that our KICML team worked tirelessly during the year underreview to sustain the Company's operating performance and reliability thereby achievingsome notable milestones. At KICML we successfully repaid our debts on time and managed tocloak an excellent rise in our earnings in the last scal. We continued to add newcustomers and leverage our position as a leading pig iron producer due to the locationaleadvantage of our plant in the steel belt of Durgapur. Going ahead we are expected to addnew capacities integrate further and add value added products which in turn would lead tohigher revenue increased shareholders return and strengthen our pro tability. Our growthtrajectory shall be calibrated in such a manner so that we can continue to maintainnancial prudence and a strong Balance Sheet sustainably.
Our operational Annular Sinter and Captive Power Plant are a jewel in our crown. Bothof them cater signi cantly to our raw material and power requirements thereby reducingwastage and resulting in substantial cost savings to our Company.
At KICML we have achieved the position of as one of the leading pig iron producers inEastern India. We are consciously driving our business forward through the continuousmodernisation of Blast Furnace and achieving higher standards in environment managementand reducing the carbon footprints. Our business vision is centred on sustainability. Werealise that only by creating a sustainable future we can pave the way to help shape aself-reliant India. We believe that inclusive growth is the visible manifestation ofsustainable prosperity; hence we focus on offering value to all our stakeholders. Ouremployees have been instrumental in providing a robust foundation for our organisationfrom where we draw inspiration and continuously strive to set new benchmarks. The idea ofcaring and sharing derives our quest for growth and give us a sense of ful lment.
I would like to express gratitude towards all our stakeholders for their continuedfaith and belief in us. We are committed to upholding your trust and continue on ourstated mission with creativity imagination and conviction. Put another way we willcontinue to capitalise on our excellence.
Radhey Shyam Jalan
Chairman and Managing Director