Amid rising steel prices in the country, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday highlighted the need to explore alternatives to steel as well as cement, for bringing down their prices.
The Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) said he has asked some people from Indian Institutes of Technology to carry out research on alternatives to cement and steel.
"Steel prices have increased by 65 per cent in the last six months," Gadkari said adding that the steel and cement rates will reduce once cheaper alternatives are available.
Addressing an event to launch products prepared under the Deen Dayal Upadhayay Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana, the minister also cited the example of soyabean cakes. He said when used for mass consumption, they can be served as cheaper alternatives to mutton while alleviating the problem of malnutrition, due to their high protein content of 49 per cent.
"I believe that chicken and mutton are spoiling our mindset," the minister said. He, however, added that this should not become a controversial matter, as even though he is a vegetarian, a lot of people in the country are non-vegetarian.
Gadkari also said lakhs of jobs could be created by empowering the village industry, which has the potential of achieving the annual turnover of Rs 5 lakh crore.
He added that by exploring new marketing avenues and export potential, the contribution of India's MSMEs could further be increased from 30 per cent at present to 40 per cent in the next 5 years.