India has approved the use of surplus rice for the production of ethanol for hand sanitisers and petrol blending.  

The decision, announced by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas on April 20, concerns the surplus rice available with the Food Corporation of India (FCI). According to local media, FCI has a stockpile of 30.97 million tonnes of rice, significantly above buffer norms.

Business Standard said that about 750 million litres, out of India’s grain-based distillery capacity of almost 2 billion litres, lie idle because of shortage of feedstock. The latest move will partly tackle this problem. 

The daily also notes that India finds it difficult to distribute free or subsidised grains to the poor.

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Image by McKay Savage licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.