UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – National Policy on Bio-fuels 2018
A National Policy on Bio-fuels was made in the year 2009, by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to promote the use of bio-fuels in the country. Bio-fuels are of great importance to a developing nation like India as the biofuels have caught the attention globally and now, it is imperative for India to catch up. Usage of bio-fuels provides great opportunity to integrate with targets of reduction of imports, employment generation, doubling farmer’s income, creation of wealth from waste etc. Biofuels are of strategic importance in promoting the on-going initiatives such as Make in India, Skill Development Mission, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan etc. Approval has come from the Union Cabinet for the National Policy on Bio-fuels 2018.
Salient features of the National Policy on Bio-fuels 2018
- In order to extend appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category, the biofuels are categorized as follows, as per the New Bio-fuel policy:
- Basic Bio-fuels i.e, First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel
- Advanced Biofuels Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels
- Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc.
- The scope of raw materials used for the production of Ethanol is expanded in the policy, as it allows the use of Sugar cane juice, sweet beet, rotten potatoes, damaged food grains (ex: broken rice, wheat) sweet sorghum, cassava, corn etc.
- The Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee considering that the farmers do not get appropriate prices for the produce during the surplus production phase.
- A Viability Gap Funding Scheme for 2G ethanol Bio-refineries in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price in comparison with 1G Bio-fuels has been proposed.
- The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
- With the aim of synergising the efforts, the roles and responsibilities of all the ministries have been captured in the policy document.
The National Bio-fuel Policy is expected to reduce dependency on Imports, have various health benefits, generate employment, etc. However, Biofuels programme in India has been largely impacted due to the sustained and quantum non-availability of domestic feedstock for biofuel production which needs to be addressed.
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