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The NITI Aayog on Monday released the annual plan for the gradual rollout of E20 ethanol in the country which will result in saving 30,000 crore of foreign exchange per year among other benefits.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 5, 2021, released the report of the expert committee on 'Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India by 2025'.

According to the report, 20 per cent of ethanol blending is within reach. It suggested specific responsibilities of union ministries, state governments and vehicle manufacturers for the production, supply and gradual rollout of 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by 2025.

"Immense benefits can accrue to the country by 20 per cent ethanol blending by 2025, such as saving 30,000 crore of foreign exchange per year, energy security, lower carbon emissions, better air quality, self-reliance, use of damaged foodgrains, increasing farmers' incomes, employment generation, and greater investment opportunities," said NITI Aayog.

The inter-ministerial committee was headed by Dr Rakesh Sarwal, Additional Secretary, NITI Aayog. The committee had representatives from the Ministries of Petroleum, Food and Public Distribution, Road Transport and Highways, Heavy Industry; and Indian Oil Corporation and Automotive Research Association of India.

According to NITI Aayog, initially, the pan-India ethanol production capacity will be raised from the current 700 crore litres to 1500 crore litres. Further, a phased rollout of E10 fuel will be undertaken by April 2022. Similarly, a phased rollout of E20 from April 2023 and its availability will be ensured by April 2025.

The rollout of E20 material-compliant and E10 engine-tuned vehicles will be done from April 2023. Following this, the production of E20-tuned engine vehicles will be facilitated from April 2025. A nationwide educational campaign will also be run in this regard.

NITI Aayog said the government will encourage the use of water-sparing crops, such as maize, to produce ethanol. Technologies for the production of ethanol from the non-food feedstock will be promoted.

Other recommendations include expediting regulatory clearances for ethanol distilleries through a single-window mechanism, unrestricted movement of denatured ethanol all over the country, tax incentives for blended fuel and petrol vehicles.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday had said ethanol has become one of the major priorities of 21st century India and the country has taken a big step towards the sector.

Addressing a virtual meeting on Word Environment Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Today, on the occasion of World Environment Day, India has taken another big step. A detailed roadmap for the development of the ethanol sector has just been released. An ambitious E-100 pilot project related to the production and distribution of ethanol across the country has also been launched in Pune. Now ethanol has become one of the major priorities of 21st century India."

Prime Minister had said India's capacity for renewable energy has increased by more than 250% in 6-7 years. India is today in the top-5 countries of the world in terms of installed renewable energy capacity. He emphasised that the capacity of solar energy has been increased by about 15 times in the last six years.

"Until 7-8 years ago, ethanol was rarely discussed in the country. The focus on ethanol is having a better impact on the environment as well as on the lives of farmers. Today we have resolved to meet the target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol by 2025," Prime Minister Modi added.

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