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  • 30 Jul 2019 GS Paper 1 Geography

    What factors affect the location of iron and steel industries in India? Trace the change in the location of iron and steel industries in India since the early 19th century. (250 words)



    • Briefly introduce the iron and steel industries in India.
    • Mention the factors affecting the location of iron and steel industries in India.
    • Trace the changes in their location since early 19th century.
    • Give conclusion


    Iron and steel industries is one of the most important industries in India. This is a feeder industry whose products are used as raw material for other industries. India was the second largest steel producer in 2018 after China.

    Factors affecting the location of Iron and steel industries in India

    • Raw materials: Most of the large integrated steel plants are located close to the source of raw materials, as they use large quantities of heavy and weight losing raw materials. Eg: Concentration of iron and steel industry in Chota Nagpur region is due to the presence of iron ore in this region. TISCO at Jamshedpur gets coal from Jharia coalfields, and iron ore, limestone, dolomite and manganese from Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
    • Markets: Since the products in iron & steel industries are heavy & bulky, transportation cost is high. Therefore nearness to market is important, especially for mini steel plants access to nearby markets is most important in order to minimize transportation cost. TISCO in Jamshedpur is nearer to Kolkata which provided a large market. Visakhapatnam steel plant located near the coast has excellent import-export facility.
    • Labour: Availability of cheap labour is also important. Most of the plants in Chota Nagpur region find abundant supply of cheap labour in the region.
    • Availability of water for cooling. Eg: Bokaro steel plant on the bank of river Damodar, Visheshwarya steel plant in Bhadravati, Karnataka is near river Bhadra.
    • Nearness to Industrial Town: Mini steel plants, that use scrap metals as input, require recycling of waste metals and hence, are located mostly near industrial towns eg, steel plants in Maharashtra.
    • Government Policies: Governments incentivise industries set up in backward regions. It provides subsidies, tax rebates and capital to influence the location of industries. Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh was set up to remove the backwardness of the region.
    • Power: Availability of power is another determinant for the industry location. TISCO and Bokaro steel plant get hydroelectricity from Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC). Bhilai Plant gets energy from Korba Thermal Station.
    • Transport: Connectivity to raw material locations, markets and ports is another factor. TISCO is well connected with railway to Kolkata, Mumbai Chennai. Durgapur Plant has Navigable Canal from Durgapur to Hugli and Kolkata Port.

    Changes in the location of Iron & Steel industries since early 19th century

    • Before 1800 A.D. iron and steel industry was located where raw materials, power supply and running water were easily available.
    • Later the ideal location for the industry was near coal fields and close to canals and railways.
    • After 1950, iron and steel industry began to be located on large areas of flat land near sea ports. This is because by this time steel works had become very large and iron ore had to be imported from overseas.
    • In India, iron and steel industry has developed taking advantage of raw materials, cheap labour, transport and market. All the important steel producing centres such as Bhilai, Durgapur, Burnpur, Jamshedpur, Rourkela, Bokaro are situated in a region that spreads over four states — West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Bhadravati and Vijay Nagar in Karnataka, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Salem in Tamil Nadu are other important steel centres utilising local resources.


    Iron and steel Industry is the backbone of manufacturing sector in India. With change in technology, demand patterns, international trade dynamics and energy sources the location of the iron and steel industry keeps shifting. However, due to industrial inertia the existing locations always remain relevant.

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