Government of India on August 10 observed World Biofuel Day with an event to popularise the uptake of blending of biofuel in the country – the world’s third largest oil consumer. The World Biofuel Day have been observed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for the last three years. The Government has taken up the mandate to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to polluting conventional fossil fuels and to highlight the various efforts enforced in the biofuel sector. The event on the occasion was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed a diverse gathering, consisting of farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs, students, government officials, and legislators.

On the occasion, the Prime Minister released a booklet on “National Policy on Biofuels 2018.” PM Modi also launched the “Proactive and Responsive Facilitation, by Interactive and Virtuous Environmental Single-window Hub” (PARIVESH). The Petroleum and Natural Gas ministry has taken several measures to improve the supply of ethanol for the blending programme that has resulted in supplies jumping from 380 million litres in 2013-14 to about 1.4 billion litres in the current season. The new National Policy on Biofuels-2018 has set a target of 20 per cent blending of ethanol in petrol by 2030. The policy has widened the scope of raw material for ethanol procurement which will aid a cross section of industries.

PM Modi said that biofuels can provide fresh momentum to India in the 21st century. Since 2014, a roadmap has been prepared for the Ethanol Blending Programme. He added that fuel produced from crops can change lives of people in both villages and cities. This type of fuel will not just support India’s fast-growing vehicular fuel market, but also reduce rising pollution concerns. The formulation is also helpful for the agricultural sector as it utilises exces agricultural production to generate fuel. He said that besides providing benefit to farmers, the move has saved foreign exchange worth over US$570 million last year, and the target is to take this number to around US$1.7 billion over the next four years.

The Prime Minister added that the Union Government is investing significantly in the effort to transform biomass to biofuel. There is a plan to set up 12 modern refineries, which will see a large number of new jobs. PM Modi said that schemes such as Jandhan, Vandhan and Gobardhan (aimed at boosting India’s tribal-rural economy through usages of natural resources) are helping to transform the lives of the poor, the tribal population, and the farmers. He said that the transformative potential of biofuels can be realized only through the participation of students, teachers, scientists, entrepreneurs and the general public. The Prime Minister urged everyone present to help take the benefits of biofuel to the rural areas.