The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a host of amendments to the National Policy on Biofuels, 2018 and advanced the target of blending 20% ethanol-blended petrol by five years, from 2030 to 2025-26.
It also allowed more feedstocks for the production of biofuels, which when mixed with auto fuels, can help the country cut dependency on imported oil for meeting its energy needs. At present, the oil marketing companies blend around 10% of ethanol in petrol. The amendment also added new members to the National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC).
These decisions will help India, which depends on imports for meeting 85% of its oil needs, to cut reliance on overseas shipments.
According to the statement, the approved amendments are in line with advancements in the field of biofuels and various decisions taken in the NBCC meetings, to increase biofuel production.
It also provides for promoting the production of biofuels in the country under the ‘Make in India’ programme, by units located in special economic zones (SEZ)/export-oriented units (EoUs). The Cabinet also approved granting permission for export of biofuels in specific cases. “The proposal will also attract and foster developments of indigenous technologies which will pave the way for ‘Make in India’ programme and thereby generate more employment, and thereby lead to a reduction in import of petroleum products by the generation of more and more biofuels,” the statement said.
“Since many more feedstocks are being allowed for the production of biofuels, this will promote the Atmanirbhar Bharat and give an impetus to Prime Minister’s vision of India becoming ‘energy independent’ by 2047,” the statement added.
Reacting to the amendment, the sugar industry said that it welcomes the move and looks forward to playing a leading role as the country’s ethanol supplier. “Thanks to positive initiatives taken by the Government, there are significant new investments happening to augment ethanol production across the country.
However, for the smooth roll-out of the programme, we request the removal of certain process impediments like signing of bipartite and tripartite agreements with all ethanol producers and equal preference be given to new and old ethanol plants, instead of only new plants. We further request that Uttar Pradesh, which is the country’s largest ethanol producing state, be given preference and oil marketing companies should encourage more production rather than cause impediments,” said an official of the industry.