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An Ambitious Ethanol Plan Spurs Food Security Fears in India

  • Modi advances target for use of 20% ethanol-blended gasoline
  • Biofuel makers buying rice meant for poor at subsidized prices
relates to An Ambitious Ethanol Plan Spurs Food Security Fears in India

Photographer: Amit Bhargava/Bloomberg

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India’s ambitious plan to cut the use of fossil fuels by promoting ethanol derived from rice, corn and sugar is drawing criticism from some experts who warn the move could undermine food security in the world’s second-most populous country.

In June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration accelerated the nation’s ethanol goal by five years, seeking to double production and to have gasoline 20% blended with the spirit by 2025. To help meet the target, the government is offering financial assistance to biofuel producers and faster environmental clearances. The plan is also resulting in the diversion of food grains meant for the poor to companies at subsidized rates.