Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday slammed the previous governments for not taking proper initiative on ethanol blending programme.
Blending ethanol programme in India was started during the first NDA regime in 2002, but the programme slowed down almost to a grinding halt during the 10-year rule of the UPA regime.
Speaking at the event in New Delhi to mark World Biofuel Day, Modi announced target to triple ethanol production in the next four years to help save Rs 12,000 crore in the government’s oil import bill.
“Ethanol blending programme was started during the Vajpayee government. But previous governments did not take the ethanol programme seriously. Now we will produce 450 crore litre of ethanol in next four years from existing 141 crore litre. It will result in import savings of Rs 12,000 crore,” Modi said.
At present, the country meets more than 80 per cent of its oil needs through imports. It spent nearly $ 88 billion (about Rs 5.9 lakh crore) on import of crude oil in 2017-18.
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To achieve the 10 per cent and 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol oil by 2022 and 2030 respectively, over 10 refineries have been planned to set up in the country at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore.
“As many as 12 biofuel refineries at an investment of Rs 10,000 crore have been planned in the country. The government will achieve 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by 2022 and is targeting to double it to 20 per cent by 2030. Biofuels can help reduce import dependency on crude oil. They can contribute to a cleaner environment, generate additional income for farmers and create rural jobs,” Modi said.
The refinery plant will not only meet the demands of the consumers but also aims to generate employment opportunities.
“One refinery will generate employment for 1,000-1,500 people. 175 bio-CNG plants have been set up in the country and expressed hope that soon people would see vehicles running on this source of energy, “Modi said.
Modi also said the transformative potential of biofuels can be realised only through the participation of students, teachers, scientists, entrepreneurs and the people.
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The prime minister urged people to spread the message and its benefits of biofuel to rural areas and meet the target of farmers’ doubling income by 2022.
On the occasion, Modi also launched a web portal ‘Parivesh’ for speedy environment clearance of projects and unveiled the National Biofuel Policy, 2018.
(With inputs from agencies)