Addressing the World Environment Day event via video conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorted for key policies which would include farmers as major stakeholders in India’s transition to green energy.
Speaking on the occasion, Modi said that farmers can be made partners in India’s energy sector which is expected to witness record power demands in the coming years. He mentioned, in particular, about ethanol-blending with petrol which will cut down on carbon emissions and provide for a much cleaner fuel.
He also released the “Report of the Expert Committee on Road Map for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-2025” and communicated the decision to bring forward the target date for 20% ethanol blending with petrol to 2025. The government had earlier set a target date of 2022 for 10% ethanol blending in petrol (10% of ethanol mixed with 90% of diesel) and 20% by 2030.
This will reduce import dependence and significantly reduce pollution. At present, around 8.5% ethanol is mixed with petrol with ethanol imports reaching 320 crore litres. This is why the PM wants farmers to be included in the mix. Ethanol extracted from sugarcane and other food grains like wheat and rice is less polluting and will help India decrease ethanol imports. It would enhance financial security for farmers as it will provide them with an alternative source of income.
A policy to include farmers as a part of India’s energy sector is a viable choice and will reiterate India’s commitment towards meeting its COP 21 goals. Moreover, the availability of sugarcane as well as agricultural waste and damaged crops will facilitate the domestic production of Ethanol. The Prime Minister also talked about the Government’s focus on expanding and establishing infrastructure for ethanol production and distillation plants. The PM’s address was a part of the World Environment Day event jointly organized by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Keeping in line with COVID guidelines, the event was successfully conducted via video conference.