Mumbai : Union minister Nitin Gadkari is betting big on alternative fuels that will not only cut India’s burgeoning crude oil import bills but also create additional sources of income for farmers, who comprise more than 50 per cent of the country’s population.

Alternative fuels are cleaner and cheaper, he said, adding the use of ethanol, methanol, bio-compressed natural gas, dimethyl ether and electricity should be increased as alternatives to crude oil, 70 per cent of which has to be imported.

“The benefit of these alternative fuels is that its raw material is available in the country and can be sourced in large quantities from the agricultural sector. It will help farmers increase their income too,” Gadkari said.

Gadkari said: “We spend Rs 7 lakh crore annually to import crude oil. The economy is facing challenges – one of which is the heavy crude import bill. The fall in the value of rupee against US dollar is also related to this.”

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