Employment Through Energy – Should Be India’s Objective
The bio-fuel fever has spread all over the
world now. The “International Bio-Fuels Forum” has a tough
job ahead. Five major consumers of fossil fuel United States, China,
Brazil, South Africa and European Commission including India have
joined hands to develop, produce & promote the use of bio-fuel.
This is a good sign for everyone including
Ethanol Industry in India. India has to show its presence and be a
part of the Decision-Makers of the international bio-fuel forum
to get advantages in future. But I believe in order to have a
commercial advantage, India’s forum should be strong by itself
first. The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas is trying hard but
there are few loopholes & issues still to address.
It’s good to see that the oil company’s
have floated tenders for ethanol for future 3 years and the price
also given is quite competitive. But the problem lies ahead. The
sugar industry in India is in blood-bath (as rate of the sugar is Rs.
1250/- per tonn). The only way to survive is to manufacture & sell
the 94.68% hydrous alcohol or ethanol.
The prices of molasses have gone down to Rs.
1000/- (less tan Rs. 1000/- in some parts of Maharashtra). Its very
crystal clear that cane price which are rocket high at this stage (Rs.
1250/- per tonn), the farmers must be thinking that there chances of
getting Rs. 1250/- is in dark. Lot of movements are started to give
support price for sugar around Rs. 16/- per kg. But it will need lot
of retrospect as international prices play a vital role here.
Ethanol is the solution which looks bright
now. The government should seriously think to make the policy
more user-friendly, that is to allow free movement of denatured
spirit & ethanol in interstates. The state excise though cannot have
a control on it but still are monitoring and do not want to let the
movement & manufacturing go out of there hand. In the free economy
this will be hurdle in the growth of bio-fuels in future.
It’s high time that automobiles companies
of India are standing out of the drama. They should plunge into &
play a active role to lift this sector. Flexi-fuel cars in
India can be a revolution; remember Brazil 9 cars sold out of 10
today are flex-fuel cars.
Indian Automobile giants can do more better
than this. What is stopping them! The government should make an
awareness on such concepts. Organizations like PCRA Petroleum
Conservation Research Association – which are again monitored by oil
corporations cannot take a very active role. It doesn’t mean that
they are not doing the job & creating awareness of bio-fuels, but
they can do lot better; might be their hands are tied up by
India has lot of potential within to
multiply bio-fuels. Technology is not a worry at all. India can
be a major “Ethanol Hub”. Efforts should be focused on to
crystallize the revolution.
(Presentation on “India as ethanol
Hub” by Mr. Deepak Desai in Bio-energy World Americas Conference at
Brazil - free download).
Recent budget gave an exemption of excise
duty on Bio-diesel (which is for the future & having a negligible
impact in the present.). But it is hard to believe why ethanol
didn’t attract any subsidies?, which was must. Is the ethanol
association not working hard to prove the importance. It was
surprising that ethanol didn’t have a single line to say in the
budget; when sugar cane is India’s prime crop & everyone
spoke about promoting agriculture to sustain the 9.5% growth as
against the 2.5% agriculture GDP, but we believe we should of
thought about the things which are in our hands right now & ethanol
was one of them. Since it has direct relevance with substitute for
crude imports which attracts 65 to 70% of import value. I
think this is disgusting.
Remember, India has large population too.
Promoting bio-fuel industry from the root level & monitoring it
carefully will employ large number of people which will
create a win-win situation; Economy on the top end & employment
generation on back end. Anyway at least we are taking positive
initiatives to make it happen.