The Central government on Sunday said the excess rice produced in the country will be used to manufacture ethanol to keep up the supply of hand sanitisers.
“A meeting of NBCC was held today under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, wherein it was approved that the surplus rice available with Food Corporation of India (FCI) may be converted to ethanol for utilization in making alcohol-based hand-sanitizers and in blending for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme,” Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said on Monday.
However, the move comes amid the lockdown which has left millions of migrant labourers and daily wage labourers with no job and food to survive.
There were reports that the poor were going hungry in the aftermath of the nationwide lockdown, even though the godowns of Food Corporation of India have been full.
In the press note, the government-supported its decision by quoting the National Policy on Biofuels, 2018, which allows conversion of surplus foodgrain to ethanol.
As per the National Policy on Biofuels, “During an agriculture crop year when there is projected oversupply of food grains as anticipated by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the policy will allow conversion of these surplus quantities of food grains to ethanol, based on the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.”