The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved the National Policy on Biofuel, which is expected to not only reduce pollution but also help farmers in case of surplus production. The Biofuels policy allows doping of ethanol produced from damaged foodgrains, rotten potatoes, corn and sugar beet with petrol to cut oil imports by Rs 4,000 crore this year alone.
The Biofuel National Policy was a long-pending policy conceptualised in 2009 by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to promote biofuels in the country. The government said that the production of Biofuels will help in getting a cleaner environment.
“One crore lit of E-10 saves around 20,000 ton of CO2 emissions. For the ethanol supply year 2017-18, there will be lesser emissions of CO2 to the tune of 30 lakh ton. By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues and wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions,” the government said in a statement.
Moreover, the policy also looks promising on reducing farmers’ waste. “Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Taking this into account, the Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol,” the government said. Besides, the production of Biofuels will also lead to the creation of 1200 jobs in fuel plants.
The World Bank in a report said that expanding biofuel production will reduce reliance on imported oil, lower
overall fuel costs, enhance energy security, and create domestic jobs by stimulating local economies. However, there are some risks too to food security. The diversion of maize and oilseeds to the biofuel sector has had a significant
effect on global food prices in recent years, the report said.
The government also said that the Biofuels programme has been largely impacted due to the “sustained and quantum non-availability” of domestic feedstock for biofuel production which needs to be addressed.