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PM Modi addresses “World Biofuel Day 2018” in New Delhi

In India, “World Biofuel Day 2018” event was organized in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, with the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressing a diverse gathering, consisting of farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs, students, government officials, and legislators. On the occasion, PM Modi unveiled a booklet on “National Policy on Biofuels 2018”, and launched “Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive and Virtuous Environmental Single window Hub” (PARIVESH).

“World Biofuel Day” is observed in India on August 10, since 2015 when biodiesel blending was first introduced. Apart from PM Modi, the 2018 event was also attended by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation; Shri Ramvilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution; Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, and Environment, Forest & Climate Change; and Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (photo courtesy IndianOil).

In his welcome address, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, said that World Biofuel Day is being observed by his ministry since 2015 to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and to highlight the various efforts made by the government in the biofuels sector. He said that the day “reaffirms” the government’s commitment to increase farmers’ income and improve the environment.

Minister Pradhan also said that several steps have been taken to improve the supply of ethanol for the fuel blending programme that has resulted in supplies jumping from 38 crore (380 million) litres in 2013-14 to about 141 crore (1.4 billion) litres in the ongoing 2017-18 season.

Furthermore, Minister Pradhan pointed out that the government has notified the new National Policy on Biofuels 2018, which envisages a target of 20 percent blending of ethanol in petrol by 2030. The policy has also widened the scope of feedstock for ethanol production and has provided for incentives for the production of advanced biofuels.

Since 2014, the Government of India has taken a number of initiatives to increase blending of biofuels. The major interventions include administrative price mechanism for ethanol, simplifying the procurement procedures of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), amending the provisions of the Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 and enabling lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement.

According to the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoP&NG) these government interventions have shown positive results. Apart from an almost fourfold increase in ethanol blending, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have allocated 7.6 crore (76 million) litres of biodiesel for 2018-19. In addition, oil companies are planning to set up 12-second generation (2G) biorefineries to augment ethanol supply and address environmental issues from the burning of agricultural biomass.

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