Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, during the launch of the world’s first prototype of the ‘BS6 Stage II Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle’ developed by Toyota Kirloskar Motor, says the day India's ethanol economy grows at over ₹2 lakh crore, the agri contribution in the growth rate will go up to 20% from the current 12%.

“Ethanol is related to the rural economy, and will eventually help farmers and backward regions of the country,” says the minister in New Delhi today.

Appreciating Toyota Kirloskar Motor's efforts, the minister says the company's new car will lead to the expansion of ethanol pumps in the country. “It's crucial to set up ethanol pumps, which will automatically increase ethanol vehicle production."

He says there will be one day in Indian history when India's fuel import will be "zero" and farmer-prepared ethanol will power vehicles in India, which will also be environmentally friendly.

The minister says the biggest problem for the rising pollution in the country is diesel vehicles, which are mostly engaged in the construction sector.

He says when the Modi government took over in 2014, the auto industry was worth ₹4.5 lakh crore, which has now grown to ₹12 lakh crore as the government put immense focus on building the road infrastructure. This, he says, has led to India out-shinning Japan to become the world's third-biggest auto market after China and the USA.

India is importing fossil-fuel worth ₹16 lakh crore, which is such a huge problem from an economic point of view, he opines. "In India, 40% of the overall pollution is because of the usage of fossil fuel."

"I stay in Delhi for 2-3 days and try to back home (Nagpur) as soon as possible, but by the time I reach home, infection already holds its grip," says Gadkari, adding that the prime reason for this is this 40% of water-air pollution.

He says oil marketing companies like Indian Oil are doing commendable work in this direction. "Our plant in Panipat produces 1 lakh tonne ethanol and 150-tonne bio-bitumin."

India currently imports 30 lakh tonnes worth of bitumen, he says.

The manufacturing sector contributes about 22-24% to the overall GDP of the country, says Gadkari, adding that 52-54% comes from the services sector. “In our country, the agri and allied industries just contribute about 12-14% to the overall economy despite the fact that 65% population in India depends on agriculture,” he says.

"The condition is such today that MSP is higher than the market or commercial price," he says, adding that to buy agri products on minimum support price, the government pays around ₹1.5 lakh crore.

He says in the country, cotton prices have come down to half, and soybean prices are also half. “We are importing ₹1.5 lakh crore worth of edible oil, and this year, we faced a problem of surplus sugar, corn, rice, and wheat.”

The minister says due to the initiatives of the government to produce ethanol, corn is now selling at over ₹1,800 per quintal.

"India Oil in Assam has set up a refinery to convert bio-ethanol from bamboo, even though its capital cost is higher."

He says recently he met the Bangladesh Prime Minister and Sri Lankan PM, and both of them were interested in India exporting bio-ethanol to them. “In the country, today, we are making ethanol from rice, corn, and foodgrain. Rice straw, bamboo, and now wasteland will also be used to make ethanol.”

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