Union Cabinet Decisions Today: Ethanol Price Hiked, MPLAD Scheme Resumed, More

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the revision of prices of ethanol extracted from sugarcane for doping of petrol by 1.28 per cent to Rs 63.45, up from the earlier price of Rs 62.65, information and broadcast minister Anurag Singh Thakur announced. The meeting was convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Thakur was addressing reporters after a Cabinet meeting on economic affairs in New Delhi. The hike was backed by the government’s aim to ramp up the programme that has benefited farmers and also helped cut down oil import bill.

In the press briefing, the minister also announced that the price of ethanol from C heavy molasses will be hiked from Rs 45.69 to Rs 46.66 per litre from the upcoming financial year. The price of ethanol from B heavy molasses will increase from Rs 57.61 to Rs 59.08 per litre from the same period, he added. News18.com had earlier talked about this hike in its exclusive report.

“The approval will not only facilitate the continued policy of the Government in providing price stability and remunerative prices for ethanol suppliers, but will also help in reducing the pending arrears of Cane farmers, dependency on crude oil imports and will also help in savings in foreign exchange and bring benefits to the environment,” said a press release by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

The Cabinet also gave nod to 20 per cent blending of ethanol in petrol by 2025. India, which is 85 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs, currently allows doping of up to 10 per cent ethanol in petrol with a view to cutting oil import and vehicular emissions as also offer a remunerative source for sugarcane farmers to sell their produce.

The government has decided that Oil PSEs should be given the freedom to decide the pricing for 2G ethanol as this would help in setting up advanced biofuel refineries in the country. It is important to note that grain-based ethanol prices are currently being decided by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) only, it said in a press statement.

It also approved the restoration and continuation of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). An amount of Rs 2 crore per MP will be given in one installment for the remaining period of the financial year 2021-22 and Rs 5 crore in two installments during the financial year 2022-23 to 2025-26, the government announced. Making the announcement, Thakur recalled how the Covid-19 pandemic has put a halt to this scheme

In another major decision, the Cabinet on Wednesday also gave nod to committed price support of Rs 17,408.85 crore to the Cotton Corporation of India. Thakur said that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved incurring expenditure for reimbursing losses under MSP ops for cotton during the cotton season (October to September) from 2014-15 to 2020-21.

The Cabinet has further approved reservation norms for mandatory use of jute in packaging for the Jute Year 2021 -22 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022). The mandatory packaging norms approved for Jute Year 2021-22 provide for 100 per cent reservation of the foodgrains and 20 per cent of sugar must be compulsorily packed in jute bags, it said in a press release.

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