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Govt may unveil steps to give further leg-up to ethanol production

According to sources who attended the meeting said that the minister was "very keen" to boost ethanol production at a faster pace in the country.

November 27, 2020 / 02:01 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

The government may unveil certain measures such as affordable credit to sugar industry with an aim to give a leg-up to ethanol production, a sugar by-product used to blend with crude oil for fueling vehicles, according to sources.

The matter came up for deliberations during a meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and 30-representatives of the sugar industry on November 26, 2020.

According to the sources who attended the meeting said that the minister was "very keen" to boost ethanol production at a faster pace in the country.

Goyal, who is known for his go-getter attitude, immediately dialled the concerned ministry officials from the meeting room for resolution of the issues being flagged by the industry representatives in pushing the production.

After the comprehensive deliberations, the minister assured the industry that the government will come up with a "dedicated protocol" for further increasing ethanol output in the country.

This protocol would focus on areas including processes,  pricing and marketing.

Special focus will be on easier and cheaper loan for an ethanol plant and capacity addition.

The representatives have raised difficulties being faced by them for getting credit for setting up ethanol plants.

During the meeting, the minister also said that "very soon" a meeting will be conveyed with ministries of environment, petroleum, Department of Financial Services and Bankers on the matter.

Boost in ethanol production will serve at least three purposes.
First,  it will reduce India's dependency on crude oil import and the country will also move towards clean energy.

Second, it will increase the cash position of sugar industries, which in turn can give good prices of sugarcane to the farmers, thereby reducing arrears. Third, it will help to keep sugar prices under control.

Apart from ethanol, representatives raised issue pertaining to sugar export subsidy, buffer subsidy and MSP (minimum support price) of sugar.

Although the minister did not give any concrete assurance on these issues, the industry representatives expressed happiness about the proceedings of the meeting as the minister gave a patient hearing.

The industry is hopeful for decisions on these proposals soon.

Further, the minister asked the industry to become self-reliant and minimize the dependency on government support.
Lakshman Roy
first published: Nov 27, 2020 02:01 pm
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