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Published On: Mon, Apr 20th, 2020

Surplus Rice to be converted to hand-sanitizers & blending in Petrol

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RiceNEW DELHI : Amid Outrage Over Hunger, the Saffron government on Monday decided to convert excess rice stocks into ethanol which will be used in making alcohol-based hand-sanitisers and for blending in petrol.
This move will enable the conversion of surplus rice available with Food Corporation of India (FCI) into to ethanol. This decision seen to be highly controversial with millions on the brink of starvation since the country went into lockdown last month to fight the rapid spread of coronavirus.
The National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC) chaired by petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday “approved that the surplus rice available with Food Corporation of India (FCI) may be converted to ethanol for utilization in making alcohol-based hand-sanitizers and in blending for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme.”
Quoting the National Policy on Biofuels, which allows the conversion of surplus foodgrain into ethanol, the government said the decision was taken at a meeting of NBCC (National Biofuel Coordination Committee) chaired by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
“It was approved that the surplus rice available with Food Corporation of India may be converted to ethanol for utilization in making alcohol-based hand-sanitizers and in blending for Ethanol Blended Petrol programme,” a statement from the government read.

“National Policy on Biofuels, 2018 under Para 5.3 inter-alia envisages that during an agriculture crop year when there is projected over supply of food grains as anticipated by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the policy will allow conversion of these surplus quantities of food grains to ethanol, based on the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC),” the government said in a statement. But this rule has never been invoked.
The government aims to develop a Rs-trillion biofuel economy, with state-run oil marketing companies investing Rs10,000 crore for setting up 12 second-generation bio refineries. This will help India’s efforts to reduce energy imports and carbon.
Over the last weeks, there has been huge controversy over reports that many of India’s poorest were going hungry because of the nationwide lockdown, even though the godowns of the Food Corporation of India have been full. As the lockdown started, the government promised to feed around 800 million poor people across the country for the next three months.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said 5 kg of wheat or rice will be given to each person free of cost, with a kilogram of pulses for every low-income family, through the public distribution system. “No one will go hungry,” the minister had announced.
But free grain under the Public Distribution System is accessible only to the people who have ration cards. For most of the migrants, this is beyond reach as they have not carried ration cards to their places of work.
(With Agency Inputs ).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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