India aims to cut down its oil import bill by Rs 120 billion ($1.74 billion) through increased use of biofuels, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday.ALSO READ: Iran oil imports: Slippery road ahead for India as US sanctions kick in
The South Asian nation, which imports up to 80 per cent of its oil needs, plans to invest Rs 100 billion and would build 12 biofuel refineries, Modi said.Modi blamed previous governments for not taking the ethanol blending programme seriously and said now its production will triple to 4.5 billion litres in the next four years, leading to import savings of Rs 120 billion. "Ethanol blending programme was started during Vajpayee government. But previous governments did not take ethanol programme seriously.
Now we will produce 4.5 billion litre of ethanol in the next four years from existing 1.41 billion litre. It will result in import savings of Rs 120 billion," Modi said addressing an event here to mark World Biofuel Day.India meets more than 80 per cent of its oil needs through imports. ALSO READ: Reliance to stop Iranian oil imports from November if US sanctions kick in Apart from the thrust on use of electricity, particularly from renewable sources, India is promoting biofuels for reducing its crude import bill. Modi said as many as 12 biofuel refineries at an investment of Rs 100 billion have been planned in the country. The government will achieve 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by 2022 and is targeting to double it to 20 per cent by 2030, he added. Modi said that one refinery will generate employment for 1,000-1,500 people. ALSO READ: Govt readies to reduce oil imports from Iran to zero The Prime Minister was of the view that increasing use of biofuels would enhance farmers' income and generate employment in the country. He also said 175 bio-CNG plants have been set up in the country and expressed hope that soon people would see vehicles running on this source of energy. ALSO READ: From crude oil to impact of MSP hike: RBI lists 8 key risks to inflation He lauded the efforts of his government for fixing the minimum support price of 14 kharif crops at 1.5 times the cost of production to boost farmers' income. On this occasion, he also launched a web portal 'Parivesh' for speedy environment clearance of projects and also unveiled the National Biofuel Policy, 2018.