Ethanol prices hiked, jute packaging mandatory

On Thursday, the Union Cabinet approved a mechanism for procurement of ethanol by public sector oil marketing companies under Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme besides extending the norms for mandatory packaging of food grains in jute materials.

Information and Broadcasting minister, Prakash Javadekar, while addressing a press conference, said the price of ethanol for doping in petrol has been raised by 5-8 per cent. “The move will help farmers get remunerative price while also cutting down oil imports. The move also checks pollution as ethanol is environment-friendly,” Javadekar said.

As much as 10 per cent ethanol is doped in petrol.

The ethanol procurement season by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) will run from December 1, 2020 to November 30, 2021. The government is aiming ethanol production of over 360 crore litre as it intends to achieve ethanol blending with petrol of 10 per cent by 2022 and 20 per cent by 2030 under the National Biofuel Policy.

The norms for packaging in jute materials mandates that 100 per cent of the food grains and 20 per cent of sugar will be packed in diversified jute bags. It also mandates that initially 10 per cent of the indents of jute bags for packing food grains would be placed through reverse auction on the GeM portal. This will gradually usher in a regime of price discovery.

According to Javadekar, 4 lakh workers engaged in the jute sector and many farmers would benefit from this decision. Farmers and workers located in the Eastern and North Eastern regions of the country, particularly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura, will stand to gain.

The Cabinet also gave nod for Phase II and Phase III of Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) to improve the safety and operational performance of selected 736 dams across the country. The project, worth Rs 10,211 crore, will be implemented from April 2021-March 2031.

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