Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India will be able to save around Rs 12,000 crore through ethanol blending programme for auto fuels over the next four years. Speaking during the World Bio-fuel Day event in New Delhi, Modi said that the country is targetting 10% blending of fuel with ethanol by 2022 and 20% by 2030. This is likely to translate into savings for the country’s import bill, which is estimated to increase 24% from $88 billion in 2017-18 to $109 billion in 2018-19 considering average Indian basket crude oil price of $65 a barrel.
The country will soon have 12 bio-fuel refineries with an investment of Rs 10,000 crore. The 12 upcoming refineries will be owned by state-run companies such as HPCL (four), IOCL (three), BPCL (three), MRPL (one) and Numaligarh refinery (one). As part of the National Policy on Biofuels, the government also plans 5% biofuel blending by 2030.
The government had reduced goods and services tax (GST) on ethanol and biodiesel from 18% to 15% and 12%, respectively. Modi added that ethanol production in the country will increase three-fold to 4.5 billion litres by 2022 from 1.41 billion litre now. Currently, India is dependent on imports to meet 80% of its energy requirement.
Modi said that the country is currently saving around Rs 4,000 crore in foreign exhange due to ethanol blending programme, which is also saving our environment. “Ethanol blending programme was started during Vajpayee government. But previous governments did not take ethanol programme seriously,” Modi said. In March 2015, Modi had set a target of lowering import dependence in oil by 10 percentage points to 67% by 2022, the 75th year of Independence. According to the ministry of petroleum estimates, the biofuel business in India is expected to touch Rs 50,000 crore by 2022, up from the current `6,000 crore.