'Oil import gobbles up 34 per cent of India's budgetary spending'

A huge portion of the country’s total budgetary expenditure, 34 per cent, goes to fund the country’s crude oil import, said Dr E V Ramana Reddy, Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj on Saturday. This called for increasing the biofuel production, he said.

Reddy was speaking after inaugurating the second anniversary meeting of the Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board (KSBDB) in the city.

“In the current financial year alone, the union government had kept aside Rs 3.75 lakh crore for oil import. But we have already crossed the limit and spent Rs 4 lakh crore, with three more months to go for the financial year,” he said.  

He called upon the other states to emulate Karnataka in biofuel production, where over three lakh farmers have taken up plantation of biofuel yielding crops and produce organic fuel under government schemes.

He said programmes undertaken by KSBDB like Baradu Bangara, Hasiru Honnu and Hombelaku to promote plant and tree varieties necessary for biofuel production had received a good response.

“As of now, the USA and the Gulf countries decide the prices of the fuel we use. Many a time, the rise in fuel prices is artificial and created by such countries, depending on their needs. We need to be efficient in the production of bio-energy and solar energy to achieve self-sufficiency,” he said.

Y B Ramakrishna, Executive Chairman, KSBDB, said biofuel information centres would be extended to all districts in the next few weeks and that there were plans to set up biofuel parks in each revenue division, like the one in Hassan.

Students from different parts of the State who had done interesting research projects on future biofuel needs were felicitated.

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