PIB – 15th Jan 2021

Department of Food & Public Distribution notified modified scheme to enhance ethanol distillation capacity in the country for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol from feed stocks such as cereals

  • With the vision to boost agricultural economy, to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuel, to save foreign exchange on account of crude oil import bill & to reduce the air pollution, the Government has fixed a target of 10% blending of fuel grade ethanol with petrol by 2022 & 20% blending by 2030. 
  • It is expected that in the current ethanol supply year 2020-21 about 8.5 % blending levels will be achieved. It is likely that we will be achieving a 10% blending target by 2022 with supply of 400 crore liters of ethanol.
  • With a view of support sugar sector and in the interest of sugarcane farmers, the Government has also allowed production of ethanol from B-Heavy Molasses, sugarcane juice, sugar syrup and sugar; and has been fixing the remunerative ex-mill price of ethanol derived from C-heavy molasses, B-heavy molasses and ethanol derived from sugarcane juice/ sugar/ sugar syrup for ethanol season. 
  • To increase production of fuel grade ethanol, Govt. is also encouraging distilleries to produce ethanol from maize; & rice available with Food Corporation of India.
  • Now it has been proposed to prepone the 20% blending of ethanol with petrol by 2025
  • To achieve 20 % blending by 2025, about 60 Lakh Metric Tonne (LMT) of surplus sugar would be diverted to ethanol which would solve the problem of excess sugar, relieve sugar industry from the problem of storage of surplus sugar, & improve the revenue realization of sugar mills which will facilitate them in making timely payment of cane dues of sugarcane farmers. 
  • To achieve 20% blending by 2025 as well as to meet out the requirement of ethanol production capacity in the country, the Department of Food & Public Distributionhas modified earlier scheme & notified the modified scheme for extending financial assistance to project proponents for enhancement of their ethanol distillation capacity or to set up distilleries for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol from feed stocks such as cereals (rice, wheat, barley, corn & sorghum), sugarcane, sugar beet etc. or converting molasses based distilleries to dual feedstock. 
  • Under the scheme , the Government would bear interest subvention for five years including a one year moratorium against the loan availed by project proponents from banks.
  • This scheme would not only facilitate diversion of excess sugar to ethanol but would also encourage farmers to diversify their crops to cultivate particularly maize/corn which needs less water compared to sugarcane and rice. 
  • It would enhance production of ethanol from various feedstocks thereby, facilitate in achieving blending targets of ethanol with petrol and would reduce import dependency on crude oil, thereby, realizing the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat. It will also enhance income of farmers as setting up of new distilleries would not only increase demand of their crops but would assure farmers of getting better prices for their crops.
  • Sugarcane and ethanol is produced mainly in three states viz Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Transporting ethanol to far flung States from these three states involves huge transportation costs.  By bringing new grain based distilleries in the entire country would result in distributed production of ethanol and would save a lot of transportation cost and thus prevent delays in meeting the blending target & would benefit the farmers across the country.

India’s First Indigenously Developed 9mm Machine Pistol

  • India’s first indigenous 9mm Machine Pistol has been jointly developed by DRDO and Indian Army. 
  • Infantry School, Mhow and DRDO’s Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune have designed and developed this weapon using their respective expertise in the complementary areas. The weapon has been developed in a record time of four months. 
  • The Machine Pistol fires the in-service 9mm ammunition and sports an upper receiver made from aircraft grade Aluminium and lower receiver from carbon fibre. 
  • 3D Printing process has been used in designing and prototyping of various parts including trigger components made by metal 3D printing.
  • The weapon has huge potential in Armed forces as personal weapon for heavy weapon detachments, commanders, tank and aircraft crews, drivers/dispatch riders, radio/radar operators, Closed Quarter Battle, counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations etc. 
  • This is also likely to find huge employability with the central and state police organizations as well as VIP protection duties and Policing. The Machine Pistol is likely to have production cost under rupees 50000 each and has potential for exports. 
  • The weapon is aptly named “Asmi” meaning “Pride”, “Self-Respect” & “Hard Work”.

Third phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0) to be launched 

  • The third phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0)  will be launched in 600 districts across all states of India. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), this phase will focus on new-age and COVID-related skills.
  • Skill India Mission PMKVY 3.0 envisages training of  eight lakh candidates over a scheme period of 2020-2021 with an outlay of Rs. 948.90 crore. 
  • The 729 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKKs), empaneled non-PMKK training centres and more than 200 ITIs under Skill India will be rolling out PMKVY 3.0 training to build a robust pool of skilled professionals. 
  • On the basis of the learning gained from PMKVY 1.0 and PMKVY 2.0, the Ministry has improved the newer version of the scheme to match the current policy doctrine and energize the skilling ecosystem affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Skill India Mission” launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi on 15th of July 2015 has gained tremendous momentum through launch of its flagship scheme PMKVY to unlock the vision of making India the ‘Skill Capital’ of the world.

NCAVES India Forum 2021

  • In 2017, the European Union initiated a project, “Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services” (NCAVES) in 2017 to help nations advance the knowledge on environmental-economic accounting, in particular ecosystem accounting, that can help in ensuring sustainable economic growth. The NCAVES Project is being implemented in five countries – India, Brazil, China, Mexico and South Africa – by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • The Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation has taken up several initiatives under the NCAVES Project during the past three years. With a view to disseminate the activities taken up by the Ministry under the Project and to highlight the uses to which natural capital accounts can be put, especially in the areas of decision making and policy analysis, the Ministry is conducting NCAVES India Forum (in a virtual format), in collaboration with United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), European Union and UN Environment.