India's steel and trade ministries are discussing the issue of increasing imports, especially those from China, which are being sold at low prices, according to a government source familiar with the situation. This comes as leading steel producers in India have been urging for higher tariffs. India became a net importer of steel in the fiscal year ending March, and this trend has continued with imports reaching a five-year high in April and May, as per preliminary government data. The country imported 1.1 million metric tons of finished steel during these two months, a 19.8% increase from the previous year.

The steel ministry has informed the commerce ministry about the rising imports, and the industry has requested an investigation, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous as the discussions are confidential. India is closely monitoring the influx of cheap Chinese steel, as China remains the largest exporter of steel to India in recent months. Major Indian steel producers like Tata Steel have expressed concerns about the increasing Chinese imports.

Indian steel mills, concerned about the sharp rise in imports, have repeatedly urged the government to intervene and increase import taxes. However, the federal Ministry of Steel has opposed these calls, citing robust local demand. Earlier, a senior executive at ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India suggested that the government should consider raising the basic customs duty on steel from 7.5% to 12.5% due to the surge in imports.

"We should immediately revert to the 12.5% duty regime, which was in place earlier," said Ranjan Dhar, Director and Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India.