The petroleum ministry is planning 5 per cent biodiesel blending by 2022. With this, the industry was expected to face annual demand of 6.75 billion litres, with a business size of around Rs 27,000 crore.
“It is a paradox that a product like biodiesel that can reduce pollution, specifically particulate pollution, is slotted in a high tax slab. The high tax will restrain mass consumption by even existing users like oil refiners, railways and transporters. Farmers will switch back to polluting fuels,” said Sandeep Chaturvedi, president, Biodiesel Association of India.
The industry has produced and supplied close to 0.5 million tonnes till date and is gearing up to deliver up to one million tonnes of biodiesel by 2019. The high GST
rate is likely to derail these expansion plans.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pushing for Swachh Bharat with a cess and cutting consumption of crude oil to push green fuels. The GST
rate on biodiesel contradicts the government’s efforts,” Chaturvedi added.
“The government will not benefit as the industry will. The industry needs promotional tax and other policies. The GST rate has come as a major setback to the biodiesel sector,” said VK Jain, executive director, Ruchi Soya Industries.
“We also seek implementation of the National Policy on Biofuels,” said NS Balamukundan, managing director, Yantra Fintech.
Around 3,700 outlets in the country supply biodiesel and the petroleum ministry aims to increase this number to 10,000 by August. India has an installed capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of biodiesel.
State of affairs
In India, biodiesel is used for blending with diesel
It is a part of the overall strategy by the petroleum ministry to cut energy imports and carbon emissions
Currently, 3,700 fuel retail outlets use biodiesel, while the railways uses it for 5% blending of diesel it consumes
Centre has a target to cut crude imports by half by 2030
In 2015, the MoPNG permitted direct sale of biodiesel (B100) to bulk consumers such as the railways, shipping and state road transport corporations
Currently, the railways is the largest consumer of diesel in India, with an annual consumption of 2.8 billion litres, of which biodiesel blending comes to around five per cent