PIB – 21st Nov 2020

Diversion of excess sugar to ethanol to enhance income of sugarcane farmers and to achieve ethanol blending target

  • In the normal sugar season, about 320 LMT of sugar is produced against domestic consumption of 260 LMT.  This 60 LMT of surplus sugar which remains unsold, blocks funds of sugar mills to the tune of about Rs. 19,000 crore every year thereby affecting liquidity positions of sugar mills resulting in accumulation of cane price arrears of farmers. 
  • To deal with surplus stocks of sugar, sugar-mills are being encouraged by the Government to export sugar, for which Government has been extending financial assistance. 
  • However, India being a developing country can export sugar by extending financial assistance for marketing and transport only up to year 2023 as per WTO arrangements. 
  • So, as a long term solution to deal with surplus sugar, to improve sustainability of sugar industry and to ensure timely payment of cane dues to farmers, Government has been encouraging diversion of excess sugarcane & sugar to ethanol for supplying to Oil Marketing Companies for blending with petrol which not only would reduce import dependency on crude oil, promote ethanol as a fuel which is indigenous & non polluting, but will also enhance income of sugarcane farmers.
  • Earlier, the Government had fixed a target of 10% blending of fuel grade ethanol with petrol by 2022 and 20% blending by 2030 but now Government is preparing a plan to prepone achievement of  20% blending target. 
  • However, as the existing ethanol distillation capacity in the country is not sufficient to produce ethanol to achieve blending targets, Government is encouraging sugar mills, distilleries and entrepreneurs to set up new distilleries and to expand their existing distillation capacities and is also extending financial assistance by way of interest subvention for 5 years at 6% maximum rate of interest against the loans availed by sugar mills/ distilleries from banks for setting up their projects. 
  • However, as the blending targets cannot be achieved only by diverting sugarcane / sugar to ethanol therefore, Government is also encouraging distilleries to produce ethanol from other feed stocks like grains, etc for which the present distillation capacity is not sufficient. 
  • Therefore, concerted efforts are being made by Govt. to enhance ethanol distillation capacity in the country by 720 crore litre for producing ethanol from 1st Generation (1G) feed stocks like sugarcane, molasses, grains, sugar beet, sweet sorghum etc. With use of other feedstocks, ethanol can be produced in non-sugarcane states also and this will help in distributed ethanol production in the country.
  • In view of surplus of availability of rice in the country, Government is making efforts for production of ethanol from surplus rice with FCI to supply to Oil Marketing Companies to mix with petrol in Ethanol Supply Year 2020-21 (December-November). Efforts are also being made to produce ethanol from maize in states which have sufficient production of maize.
  • In next few years with 20% ethanol blending with petrol, Government will be able to reduce import of crude oil, a step towards being Atma Nirbhar in the  Petroleum sector and this will also help in increasing the income of farmers and creating additional employment in distilleries.

Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT)

  • The 30th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy is being conducted from 18 – 20 November 2020. 
  • Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette and His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi, a Chao Phraya Class Frigate along with Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both the navies are participating in the CORPAT.
  •  As part of Government of India’s vision of SAGAR (Security AndGrowth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with EEZ Surveillance, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), and other capacity building and capability-enhancement activities, on their request. 
  • India and Thailand have especially enjoyed a close and friendly relationship covering a wide spectrum of activities and interactions, which have strengthened over the years.
  • To reinforce maritime links, the two navies have been carrying out CORPAT along their International Maritime Boundary Line twice a year since 2005, with the aim of keeping this vital part of the Indian Ocean safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade. CORPAT builds up the understanding and interoperability between navies and facilitates institution of measures to prevent and suppress Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy. It further enhances the operational synergy by exchange of information for prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration and for conduct of SAR operations at sea.

Rs. 2 lakh crore to be invested for setting up 5000 Compressed bio-gas in the country

  • To boost availability of affordable and clean transport fuels, a MoU was signed between MoPNG and leading oil & gas marketing companies & technology providers to establish Compressed Bio-Gas CBG) plants across India under the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative.
  • SATAT (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) initiative for boosting production and availability of CBG as an alternative and affordable clean fuel for transportation sector was launched by Government of India on 1.10.2018. The scheme envisages setting up of 5000 CBG plants by FY 2023-24. Signing of the MoUs will give a big fillip to the clean energy initiative of the Government.
  • Over the last two years, SATAT has grown into one of flagship programs of MoPNG. SATAT will establish an ecosystem for the production of Compressed Bio Gas from various waste and biomass sources in the country leading to multiple benefits viz. reduction of natural gas import, reduction of GHG emission, reduction in burning of agriculture residues, remunerative income to farmers, employment generation, effective waste management etc. The initiative is in line with the goals of AatmaNirbhar Bharat, Swachh Bharat Mission and boosting MSME sector.

NHAI Collaborates with 200 Premier Institutes to Leverage Local Expertise

  • In line with its vision to provide world-class National Highway (NH) network and to create a bridge between technical Institutions and Industry, the National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) has received overwhelming response from many reputed Institutes for its initiative of collaborating with Premier Institutes to Leverage Local Expertise. According to NHAI, as many 18 IITs (including IIT Roorkee, IIT Bombay, IIT Varanasi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur), 26 NITs and 190 other reputed Engineering colleges have agreed to collaborate  with NHAI.  Out of which, about 200 Institutes have already signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
  • Under this initiative, the partner institutes will study improvement prospects in Road Safety, maintenance, riding comfort, removal of choke points, black spots and usage of new technologies on the adopted stretches and give suitable suggestions to NHAI. 
  • The Institutes, NHAI stated, are also encouraged to associate with the Consultants/NHAI during conceptualization, design and project preparation of new projects and suggest the relevant performance parameters and innovations based on experience specific to the local climate, topography and resource potential for better socio economic outcome.
  • The areas of collaboration for improving the efficiency of existing highways are:
  1. Improvements in safety provisions by removing existing deficiencies and offering potential solutions to old recurring problems based on local experience.
  2. Improvements in continual maintenance of the stretches and improving the riding comfort through cost effective measures based on innovative technologies.
  3. Localized solutions for removal of congestion points and thereby increasing the average traffic speed.
  4. Viability of new wayside amenities for road users based on the existing traffic pattern and user expectations.

India’s IRNSS is now part of World Wide Radio Navigation System

  • IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by India. It is designed to provide accurate position information service to assist in the navigation of ships in Indian Ocean waters.
  • The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) has been accepted as a component of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS) for operation in the Indian Ocean Region by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 
  • This will enable merchant vessels to use IRNSS for obtaining position information similar to GPS and GLONASS to assist in the navigation of ships in ocean waters within the area covered by 50°N latitude, 55°E longitude, 5°S latitude and 110°E longitude (approximately up to 1500 km from Indian boundary).