Prelims 2020

Q. According to India’s National Policy on Biofuels, which of the following can be used as raw materials for the production of biofuels?

2.Damaged wheat grains
3.Groundnut seeds
4.Horse gram
5.Rotten potatoes
6.Sugar beet

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
a) 1, 2, 5 and 6 only
b) 1, 3, 4 and 6 only
c) 2, 3, 4 and 5 only
d) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Correct Answer : 1, 2, 5 and 6 only

Question from UPSC Prelims 2020 GS Paper


National Policy on Biofuels – 2018

National Policy on Biofuels – 2018, approved by the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, represents a significant step towards promoting the use of biofuels in India. This policy is aimed at not only reducing the dependency on fossil fuels but also at enhancing the country’s energy security, reducing carbon emissions, and boosting the agricultural economy. Below are the detailed salient features of the policy and their implications:

Categorization of Biofuels

  1. Basic Biofuels: These include First Generation (1G) bioethanol and biodiesel. These are primarily produced from food crops like sugarcane, corn, and vegetable oils through conventional processing techniques.
  2. Advanced Biofuels: This category includes Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, and bio-CNG. Advanced biofuels are produced from non-food biomass, including agricultural residues, waste materials, and also through innovative technologies that offer better efficiency and environmental benefits.

Expansion of Raw Material Scope

The policy broadens the range of raw materials for ethanol production. It now includes sugarcane juice, sugar-containing materials (e.g., sugar beet, sweet sorghum), starch-containing materials (e.g., corn, cassava), and damaged food grains (e.g., wheat, broken rice) that are unfit for human consumption.

Support for Farmers

Recognizing the challenges faced by farmers during surplus production phases, the policy permits the use of surplus food grains for ethanol production, subject to the approval of the National Biofuel Coordination Committee. This move aims to provide an alternative market for farmers’ produce, potentially stabilizing prices and ensuring better returns.

Encouragement for Biodiesel Production

There is a clear emphasis on establishing supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, used cooking oil, and short gestation crops. This approach not only diversifies the raw material base but also addresses waste management issues.

Roles and Responsibilities

The policy document outlines the roles and responsibilities of various Ministries/Departments, ensuring a coordinated and synergistic approach towards biofuel promotion. This inter-ministerial collaboration is crucial for addressing the multifaceted challenges associated with biofuel production, distribution, and usage.

Source: Cabinet approves National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 (

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