FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa | Photo: Reuters
India aims to cut down its oil import bill by Rs 120 billion ($1.74 billion) through increased use of biofuels, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday.
The South Asian nation, which imports up to 80 per cent of its oil needs, plans to invest Rs 100 billion and would build 12 biofuel refineries, Modi said.
Modi blamed previous governments for not taking the ethanol blending
programme seriously and said now its production will triple to 4.5 billion litres in the next four years, leading to import savings
of Rs 120 billion.
programme was started during Vajpayee government. But previous governments did not take ethanol programme seriously. Now we will produce 4.5 billion litre of ethanol in the next four years from existing 1.41 billion litre. It will result in import savings
of Rs 120 billion," Modi said addressing an event here to mark World Biofuel Day.
India meets more than 80 per cent of its oil needs through imports.
Apart from the thrust on use of electricity, particularly from renewable sources, India is promoting biofuels
for reducing its crude import bill.
Modi said as many as 12 biofuel refineries
at an investment of Rs 100 billion have been planned in the country. The government will achieve 10 per cent ethanol blending
in petrol by 2022 and is targeting to double it to 20 per cent by 2030, he added.
Modi said that one refinery will generate employment for 1,000-1,500 people.
The Prime Minister was of the view that increasing use of biofuels
would enhance farmers' income and generate employment in the country.
He also said 175 bio-CNG
plants have been set up in the country and expressed hope that soon people would see vehicles running on this source of energy.
He lauded the efforts of his government for fixing the minimum support price
of 14 kharif crops at 1.5 times the cost of production to boost farmers' income.
On this occasion, he also launched a web portal 'Parivesh' for speedy environment clearance of projects and also unveiled the National Biofuel Policy, 2018.