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Earlier governments not serious on ethanol output, now it will save Rs 12000 crore: PM Modi

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PM Modi

New Delhi |  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today blamed previous governments for not taking the ethanol blending programme seriously and said now its production will triple to 450 crore litres in the next four years, leading to import savings of Rs 12,000 crore.

“Ethanol blending programme was started during Vajpayee government. But previous governments did not take ethanol programme seriously. Now we will produce 450 crore litre of ethanol in next four years from existing 141 crore litre. It will result in import savings of Rs 12,000 crore,” Modi said addressing an event here to mark World Biofuel Day. India meets more than 80 percent of its oil needs through imports.

Apart from the thrust on use of electricity, particularly from renewable sources, India is promoting biofuels for reducing its crude import bill. Modi said as many as 12 biofuel refineries at an investment of Rs 10,000 crore have been planned in the country. The government will achieve 10 percent ethanol blending in petrol by 2022 and is targeting to double it to 20 percent by 2030, he added. Modi said that one refinery will generate employment for 1,000-1,500 people.

The Prime Minister was of the view that increasing use of biofuels would enhance farmers’ income and generate employment in the country. He also said 175 bio-CNG plants have been set up in the country and expressed hope that soon people would see vehicles running on this source of energy.

He lauded the efforts of his government for fixing the minimum support price of 14 Kharif crops at 1.5 times the cost of production to boost farmers’ income.

On this occasion, he also launched a web portal ‘Parivesh’ for speedy environment clearance of projects and also unveiled the National Biofuel Policy, 2018.

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India-Pakistan need to work for terror free South Asia: PM Modi writes to Imran Khan

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New Delhi | PM Modi on Monday wrote to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan and congratulated him for being elected as new Prime Minister of the Islamic democracy.

PM Modi in his letter wrote that “India is currently looking for good neighbourly relations with Pakistan. Both countries  should look for constructive and meaningful engagement towards this.” PM Modi also stressed for the “need to work for terror-free South Asia.”

Cricketer-turned-politician  Imran Khan on Saturday took oath as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan after his party Pakistan Tehrrek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the single largest party in the general election of Pakistan.

Responding to the letter by PM Modi, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs minister SM Qureshi said,” There is a need for continued and uninterrupted dialogue with India. We are neighbours. We have long-standing issues, both of us know these problems. But we have no other option but to engage in dialogue. We cannot afford adventurism.”

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Kasturirangan says pressure on land resources could be the reason behind rain fury

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Hyderabad  |  Pressure on Kerala’s limited land resources due to the growing population, denudation of the Western Ghats and climate change could be the reasons behind the floods that have ravaged the state, eminent scientist K Kasturirangan has said.

The former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) noted that the state’s population had increased in the last century and it “has its own pressures on the environment and resources”.

“So, together there has been an impact on the environment … The population has increased, there is more demand on resources, which includes land, agriculture and many other activities,” he told PTI.

Kasturirangan, who was a member of the now-defunct Planning Commission and hails from Kerala, said that heavy rains have in the past been “well managed” by nature through an exceptionally thick vegetation and other kinds of natural endowment that the state has, including the backwaters”.

But the size of the backwaters has shrunk to 50-60 per cent of what it was in the 1940s, he said.

Kasturirangan said the Western Ghats have denuded at many places, “and agricultural practices have been pursued there… population pressure has caused this”.

Climate change could also be a reason behind the heavy rains, according to him.

“There are multiple factors. One has to really analyse it,” he said.

He called for “proper planning” to minimize damage due to heavy rains.

Kasturirangan said steps should be taken to enable sustainable livelihood for Keralites, “make them happy and contented”.

The fierce monsoon rains in Kerala have claimed 210 lives since August 8 and displaced over 7.14 lakh people from their homes.

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Kerala requires technical assistance rather than food and clothing, claims Union Minister KJ Alphons

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Thiruvananthapuram | Union Minister and Kerala native KJ Alphons on Monday said that the state of Kerala who is currently suffering the worst floods since 1924 and it no more needs assistance in form of ‘food and clothing’.

Speaking to media, KJ Alphons said, “Help has been pouring in from all over the world, but the state doesn’t need food and clothes. What the state desperately needs is technical assistance to rebuild and recreate”. There will be no electricity in homes. Carpentry, plumbing would be gone. We need hundreds of thousands of electricians, plumbers, carpenters to rush to Kerala. We don’t need clothes/food. People with technical capabilities are required to put life back into Kerala,” added the Union Minister.

Speaking on the relief funds sanctioned by the Union Government, the Minister said,”The prime minister visited Kerala and took stock of the situation. He has promised assistance and whatever it takes to rebuild the state. He announced an immediate assistance of Rs. 500 crore. Before that Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Kiren Rijiju had sanctioned Rs. 100 crore and Rs. 80 crore, respectively. So money isn’t a problem.”

The state of Kerala has already suffered a loss of 21,000 crores with more than 7 lakh people have been forced to stay in relief camps due to constant rains and flood like situation in the state. Various state governments including Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh offered a contribution worth Rs.10 crores for the relief work. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also offered Rs. 15 crores from the Uttar Pradesh Relief Fund.

Informing about the relief work, the Union Minister further added, “Things are running very well and all central forces are providing amazing services. Fishermen have turned out to be the biggest heroes. We thank the people of India and other countries for sending help and showing compassion, but we need technical help when the water level goes down. There is no electricity or mobile connectivity. The homes are gone so we need thousands of electricians, carpenters and plumbers to rush to Kerala. The biggest challenge right now is to rebuild. We need people with technical skills to put life back on track.”

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