Brazil Current Affairs - 2020

Indian Oil to set up new 2G Ethanol Plant in Panipat

The Indian Oil Corporation recently received environment clearance from Ministry of EFoCC (Environment, Forest and Climate Change), to set up a new 2G Ethanol plant at Panipat. Indian Oil will invest Rs 766 crore in setting up the plant.


  • The Ethanol produced in the plant will be exclusively used to blend transportation fuels
  • The project also aims at doubling farmers income


The Government is trying in every way to reduce the dependence on petroleum products like petrol and diesel. The GoI recently notified that no Environmental Clearance is required for sugar mills to produce more ethanol from sugarcane juice.

Ethanol as Fuel

Ethanol is most often used as motor fuel. It is predominantly used as a biofuel additive for gasoline. Brazil was the first country to produce Ethanol run car (the first ethanol run vehicle in the world) in 1978.

Ethanol in India

India initiated the use of Ethanol as a fuel in 2003. India began its journey with E5 fuel which uses 5% Ethanol and 95% diesel. In 2006, India began its second phase of E10 biofuel which consists of 10% Ethanol and 90% Diesel.

India is yet to launch E15 officially. However, the E15 outlets have grown from 180 in the year 2016 to 394.

Indian Government has set a target of 22.5%. In November, 2019, IOCL, HPCL and BPCL announced that they are investing 586 million USD to achieve the target. Around 7 ethanol producing units will be launched according to the plan.

While other countries have entered E100, India is just putting its baby steps towards biofuel. However, the potential is huge. According to IEA (International Energy Agency), around 25% of world energy demand will come via India in 2040.

FICCI study on Onion Price Rise: India should follow Israel, Brazil

India is witnessing price hikes in retail onion up to Rs 100 per kg currently in November 2019. Government had introduced the TOP-Tomato Onion Potato Scheme in 2018-19 Budget to address this problem. However, the scheme has not taken off well.

The FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) on Novmber 8, 2019, submitted a report to the GoI analyzing the problem. The Federation has also provided solutions to the current problems being faced in the country due to price rise of Onions.

Highlights of the study

  • Around 40% of total onions produced were damaged this year (2018-19) in the periods of heavy rainfall due to lack of post-harvest storage facilities
  • FICCI suggests long term solution studying Brazil and Israel models. It recommends low cost technologies for storing Onions
    • Israel stores onions in open ventilated warehouses. The warehouses are ventilated through continuous forced air.
    • Brazil stores onions in low-cost well ventilated silos systems. They are built at farm levels. Brazil also uses refrigerated rooms to store the vegetables.
  • The report says that for the first time GoI is incurring a buffer stock loss of 57,000 tons. This is 25% of the total buffer stock

India’s current measures

  • In India very few startups use farm level refrigeration for perishables
  • GoI through “Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture” promoted low cost thatched bamboo storage. According to the study, India lacks in storage systems that sustain monsoon.
  • In India Onion is cultivated throughout the year in several places. Onion scarcity occurs only during July to September. In order to maintain regular supply during the lean period GoI stores onions in ventilated warehouses. The losses are high in these systems. Around 20% to 40% of onions are lost