Explicating Green Biofuel Policy Across Indian States

Explicating Green Biofuel Policy Across Indian States

Satyendra Nath Mishra (Xavier University, India)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2662-9.ch008
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Abstract

In 2003 Government of India envisioned Biofuel Policy to generate [un]skilled employment opportunities, address environmental issues, alternative for petroleum fuel and utilization of wasteland in rural areas. The biofuel programme took varied shape across India with focus on social, economic and political priorities of implementing states having varying focus like decentralized development, priority for local use of resources, allocation of wasteland and generating local employment. It was observed that existing policy guidelines, land allocation processes and fund allocation channels were not able to address the challenges came with the emergence of different institutional arrangements across different states of India. The mismatch to address the specific challenges for emerging institutions created fissure between state and its citizens, and potential withdrawal of private players.
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Introduction1

Government of India (GoI) envisioned to provide facilitative policy environment for biofuel2 based energy options to generate [un]skilled employment opportunities, addressing environmental issues, as an alternative to petroleum fuel and utilization of wasteland in rural areas (Admin, 2015; PTI, 2015; PTI, 2014). In 2003, for promotion of biofuel crop cultivation on wasteland3 the GoI came up with ‘Report of the Committee on Development of Biofuel’. The report emphasized for allocation of scarce resources, viz., wasteland, water, and unskilled labor, from the rural India for the programme (Planning Commission, 2003). The rationale given for promotion of biofuel was its potential role as alternative to petroleum fuel for transport purpose, environment friendly in checking Green House Gases (GHGs) emission and as option for employment in rural India (Bhojvaid, 2006; Kher, 2005). The report had drawn a two-phase developmental programme to promote jatropha based biodiesel. First phase involved demonstration project (from 2003 to 2007) for plantation of jatropha on wasteland through Joint Forest Management (JFM) and non-JFM approach, across eight compact areas4. The second phase (from 2007 to 2012) envisioned that villagers would take up the plantation as community based activity, with institutional and financial support from government. The biodiesel programme took varied shape across India with focus on social, economic and political priorities of implementing states. Also, each state had varying focus like decentralized development, priority for local use of resources, type of wasteland to be allocated, generating local employment, to count few.

The programme received mixed reaction for its policy design, setting priorities, selection of feedstocks, and wasteland allocation (Swain, 2014; Altenburg et al., 2009). The planning commission report emphasized that local institutions (like Gram Panchayat’s [GPs], farmers group, etc.) would be given responsibility on priority basis for resource allocation, planning and development. This was to be done through i) the involvement of Panchayat’s, ii) providing first hand right of resources to local users / groups and iii) priority for local energy use and self-sufficiency (Planning Commission, 2003). However, the report was silent on how to mobilize and use the local resources for local energification5 process. All the financial and environmental standard shared in the Planning Commission report were for transport sector. This showed the scalar nature of state resource mobilization for Research and Development (R&D) and biodiesel production. Biodiesel Purchase Policy (MoP&NG, 2005) had given right to state owned Oil Marketing Company (OMC) for purchase of B100 biodiesel (with effect from 01st January 2006) from local producers and entrepreneurs at INR 25/- per liter. Although biodiesel purchase policy raised concern over potential large land ownership of plantation by industries but provided no measures to check it or to empower the local institutions for creation of rural business hub.

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