Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates three E100 Ethanol Stations in Pune on World Environment Day, via video conferencing. Image Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday 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 also interacted with farmers to gain insight on their firsthand experience, as enablers under the Ethanol Blended Petrol and Compressed Bio-Gas Programmes.

Prime Minister said India's capacity for renewable energy has increased by more than 250 percent 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 percent ethanol blending in petrol by 2025," PM Modi added.

"Today, India is setting an example in front of the world that when it comes to protecting the environment. It is not necessary to block development works while doing so. Economy and Ecology both can go together, can move forward, this is the path India has chosen. 21st century India will get energy only from the modern thinking and modern policies of the 21st century. With this thinking, our government is continuously taking policy decisions in every field," he stated.

Prime Minister said that a large part of the country's railway network has been electrified and airports are also being rapidly made solar power-based.

"Before 2014, only seven airports had solar power facility, whereas today this number has increased to more than 50," Prime Minister Modi pointed out as he elaborated about his government's achievements.

"India is moving ahead with a great global vision, be it the International Solar Alliance, realizing the vision of One Sun, One World, One Grid or the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure initiative. India is also aware of the challenges that are being faced due to climate change and is also working actively," said Prime Minister Modi.

"Most of the ethanol manufacturing units are mostly concentrated in 4-5 states where sugar production is high but now Food Grain Based Distilleries are being established to expand this to the whole country. Modern technology-based plants are also being set up in the country to make ethanol from agricultural waste," he said.

The Prime Minister said that India is a strong proponent of climate justice and is moving ahead with a lofty global vision like the founding of the International Solar Alliance for realizing the vision of One Sun, One World, One Grid and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure initiative. He noted India has been included in the top 10 countries of the world in the Climate Change Performance Index. He added that India is also aware of the challenges that are being faced due to climate change and is also working actively.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Union Petroleum Transport Minister Dharmendra Pradhan addressed a virtual meeting in view of World Environment Day.

The event has been jointly organised by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

World Environment Day, which is celebrated annually on June 5 across the globe, is one of the biggest events organised by the United Nations (UN) to generate awareness about the significance of nature. The day is celebrated to tell people that nature should be respected for its values.

To commemorate World Environment Day, the Government of India (GOI) has released E-20 notification directing oil companies to sell ethanol-blended petrol with the percentage of ethanol up to 20 percent from April 1, 2023; and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Specifications for higher ethanol blends E12 and E15.

These efforts will facilitate the setting up of additional ethanol distillation capacities and will provide timelines for making blended fuel available across the country. This will also help increase the consumption of ethanol in the ethanol-producing states and the adjoining regions, before the year 2025.