The Modi government is tackling India’s fuel import problem on multiple fronts to ensure that country becomes Atmanirbhar in energy. In a step in this direction, the government has constructed Asia’s biggest Bio-CNG plant in Indore. The “Gobar-Dhan (Bio-CNG) Plant” will have the capacity to treat 550 tonnes of segregated wet organic waste and produce around 17,000 kg CNG and 100 tonnes of organic compost per day. The project was financed together by the Union urban development ministry and Indore municipal government.
At the inauguration of the Bio-CNG plans, addressing the event virtually, PM Modi said that the initiative of the Bio-CNG plant is very important as the wet waste released from houses, animals, and farms in villages are “in a way Gobar Dhan”.
“In the coming two years, work is being done to build such Gobar-Dhan Bio-CNG plants in 75 major municipal bodies of the country. This campaign will go a long way in making India’s cities clean, pollution-free, clean energy,” the Prime Minister said.
The project has been implemented by Indore Clean Energy Pvt Ltd, a Special Purpose Vehicle set up by Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) and Indo Enviro Integrated Solutions Ltd. (IEISL).
“The balance quantity of CNG will be sold in the open market. The organic compost will help replace chemical fertilisers for agricultural and horticultural purposes,” said a press release.
The Modi government released a new bio-fuels policy in 2018 intending to encourage capacity building in bio-fuels. Since then, various incentives have been rolled out by the Union government and many state governments to increase the use of bio-fuels like sugar molasses beet, sorghum, corn and cassava, and damaged grains unfit for human consumption, such as rotten potato, wheat and broken rice.
The National Bio-fuel Policy 2018 announced that the state-run old companies will blend (5-10 per cent) sugarcane-produced ethanol with petroleum. It will help the government to save money on oil imports, and excessive sugarcane will also be consumed.
With the expansion of bio-fuel capacity, there will be massive investment in the rural economy and it will solve various problems like unemployment, migration, and rural economic distress. A lot of people will be employed in supply chain management and there will be many new small town and village level businesses thanks to this.
The decision to create bio-fuel from excessive farmers’ produce and household waste will help India in maintaining its foreign exchange reserves as well. According to estimates, the country spends $300 million daily on oil and natural gas imports.
With more bio-fuel production, fossil fuel imports will have to take up a lesser share of the government’s subsidy and public spending. India has around $650 billion in foreign exchange reserves while China has around $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves. India is trying to catch up with China in terms of Foreign Exchange reserves because more of it makes the Net International investment position (NIIP) of the country stronger and is symbolic of the financial stability of the country.