NEW DELHI: Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will head the Group of Ministers (GoM) on pricing of bio-ethanol for blending with petrol and other related issues.

"The Agriculture Minister will be the chairman of the GoM on bioethanol," a senior government official told PTI.

The GoM is authorised to examine all matters relating to pricing of bioethanol, its blending with petrol, and any other relevant issues and make its recommendations for formulating a suitable policy on the subject, he said.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S Jaipal Reddy, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M K Alagiri and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia will be members of the GoM.

Pawar is also heading four other GoMs on evolving integrated strategy for water management, National Pharmaceuticals Policy, coal mining and on calamity relief funds issues, the official added.

Last month, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had referred the proposals on increasing bio-ethanol price to GoM.

While the expert committee-headed by Planning Commission member Soumitra Choudhary has recommended ethanol price in the range of Rs 23-31 per litre, PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan suggested that price to be determined by market forces.

At present, the government has fixed a provisional price of ethanol at Rs 27 per litre. This is the rate at which oil marketing firms procure ethanol from sugar mills to implement the mandatory 5 per cent ethanol blending with petrol. Ethanol is produced from molasses, a by-product of sugarcane.



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