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 Page 1


 
59                                                                                                                                                        
5. ENVIRONMENT 
5.1. GROSS ENVIRONMENT PRODUCT 
Why in news? 
On World Environment Day 
(June 5), Uttarakhand became 
the first state in India to take 
into account Gross 
Environment Product (GEP) 
while calculating its Gross 
Domestic Product (GDP). 
More in news 
• Four critical natural 
resources- Air, Water, 
Forest and Soil- will be 
assigned monetary values. 
The quality and quantity 
of these natural resources 
would determine the GEP 
of Uttarakhand. 
? Environmentalists 
estimate that 
Uttarakhand through 
its biodiversity gives 
services to the tune of 
Rs 95,112 crore per 
year to the nation. 
• Discussions on having a GEP in the state came after the Kedarnath disaster (2013) and were further 
accentuated by the acute water shortage in the state during summers. 
What is GEP? 
• It is the total value of final ecosystem services supplied to human well-being in a region annually and can 
be measured in terms of biophysical value and monetary value.  
• It indicates the overall health of the environment as GEP measures prime indicators such as forest cover, 
soil erosion, air quality and dissolved oxygen in river water. 
• Unlike Green GDP which is obtained after deducting the damage to the environment from the total 
production of the state, GEP will assess the improvement in the environment components in a year. 
Further it will tell how much work the state has done in reducing the loss of the ecosystem in 
environmental protection and resource use. 
Need for GEP 
• Economic growth alone cannot represent true economic development: and may lower human well-being if 
it is accompanied by growing inequity and environmental degradation.  
? Resource depletion during industrial growth impacts rural growth disproportionately as the rural 
economy depends on such natural resources only. GEP thus forms a balanced development approach 
where ecology is given equal space. 
? Accounting GEP into GDP will give a true measure of the nation's growth towards sustainable 
development. 
• Shortcomings of traditional systems: The Traditional System of National Accounts (SNA) like GDP/GNP 
neither accounts for the value of natural resources and ecosystem services nor the value of 
environmental/resource degradation taking place during the developmental process. 
? Ecosystem Services are “benefits people derive from ecosystems” like provisioning services (food, 
wood etc.) and regulating services (water purification, carbon sequestration etc.) 
Page 2


 
59                                                                                                                                                        
5. ENVIRONMENT 
5.1. GROSS ENVIRONMENT PRODUCT 
Why in news? 
On World Environment Day 
(June 5), Uttarakhand became 
the first state in India to take 
into account Gross 
Environment Product (GEP) 
while calculating its Gross 
Domestic Product (GDP). 
More in news 
• Four critical natural 
resources- Air, Water, 
Forest and Soil- will be 
assigned monetary values. 
The quality and quantity 
of these natural resources 
would determine the GEP 
of Uttarakhand. 
? Environmentalists 
estimate that 
Uttarakhand through 
its biodiversity gives 
services to the tune of 
Rs 95,112 crore per 
year to the nation. 
• Discussions on having a GEP in the state came after the Kedarnath disaster (2013) and were further 
accentuated by the acute water shortage in the state during summers. 
What is GEP? 
• It is the total value of final ecosystem services supplied to human well-being in a region annually and can 
be measured in terms of biophysical value and monetary value.  
• It indicates the overall health of the environment as GEP measures prime indicators such as forest cover, 
soil erosion, air quality and dissolved oxygen in river water. 
• Unlike Green GDP which is obtained after deducting the damage to the environment from the total 
production of the state, GEP will assess the improvement in the environment components in a year. 
Further it will tell how much work the state has done in reducing the loss of the ecosystem in 
environmental protection and resource use. 
Need for GEP 
• Economic growth alone cannot represent true economic development: and may lower human well-being if 
it is accompanied by growing inequity and environmental degradation.  
? Resource depletion during industrial growth impacts rural growth disproportionately as the rural 
economy depends on such natural resources only. GEP thus forms a balanced development approach 
where ecology is given equal space. 
? Accounting GEP into GDP will give a true measure of the nation's growth towards sustainable 
development. 
• Shortcomings of traditional systems: The Traditional System of National Accounts (SNA) like GDP/GNP 
neither accounts for the value of natural resources and ecosystem services nor the value of 
environmental/resource degradation taking place during the developmental process. 
? Ecosystem Services are “benefits people derive from ecosystems” like provisioning services (food, 
wood etc.) and regulating services (water purification, carbon sequestration etc.) 
 
60                                                                                                                                                        
• Framing adequate policies: GEP helps in understanding the impact of anthropological pressure on our 
ecosystem and natural resources. This will enable us to make policies that will balance ecology and 
economy. 
Issues in capturing GEP into GDP 
• Knowledge gap: There is lack of data and an existent challenge to assign a monetary value to ecosystem 
services. Assigning monetary value to ecosystem services is possible only to a limited extent. 
? For example, the pipal tree in India is revered as a holy tree and religious ceremonies are conducted 
under its shade. Here economic valuation of the tree cannot encompass the complexity and the 
ecological, socio-cultural and institutional heterogeneity of a particular area. 
• Policy gap: There is lack of recognition of ecosystem services in economic decision-making, development 
planning and resource allocation. Value of ecosystem services is either ignored or inadequately understood. 
• Institutional failure: Insufficient ‘Compensation for ecosystem services’ (CES) provided by the government 
to stakeholders. 
? CES involves recognising and compensating people who manage the land that contribute to the long-
term security of ecosystem functions. It is a new financial resource for funding conservation measures 
to ensure a vital ecosystem. Prominent CES mechanism is ‘Payments for Ecosystem Services’ (PES). 
Way forward 
• Incorporate environmental assets accounts: This approach collects data on various types of natural 
capitals like forests, groundwater etc. and convert them into monetary terms. 
• Biophysical and spatio-temporal dynamics of the region needs to be kept in mind while quantifying and 
valuing ecosystem services  
• Develop frameworks to incorporate impacts of climate change on ecosystem services. 
• Develop alternative or complementary non-market methods to evaluate ecosystem services with focus on 
intangible assets, skills and knowledge and cultural values. 
• Factors like social disparities should be accounted for in evaluating ecosystem services. 
Conclusion 
GEP can become an environmental indicator that measures the value of natural resources along with 
improvements done in the ecosystem to truly assess national wellbeing. If Uttarakhand successfully 
implements GEP, pressure will be on other states to do the same. 
Other global standards /initiatives  
• System of Environmental and Economic Accounts (SEEA): guidebook developed by the United Nations to provide 
standards for incorporating natural capital and environmental quality into national accounting systems. 
• China (since 2004) has been undertaking studies to estimate the cost of various types of environmental damage 
which offsets its economic growth. China’s investment in pollution control and renewable energy has been growing 
rapidly since then. 
• The Happy Planet Index (HPI) created by the British New Economics Foundation (NEF) measures national welfare 
in the context of environmental sustainability. 
• Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) has environmental preservation as one of the four policy objectives. 
• Sweden (since 2003) has brought in various environmental indicators (like air emissions , waste etc.) as part of the 
government policy of achieving sustainable development  
5.2. ETHANOL BLENDING IN INDIA 
Why in News? 
Recently, the central government has advanced the target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol (also called as E20), 
by five years to 2025, from 2030. 
More in News 
• The Government has also released an expert committee report on the ‘Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in 
India by 2025’.  
o It proposes a gradual rollout of ethanol-blended fuel to achieve E10 fuel supply by April 2022 and 
phased rollout of E20 from April 2023 to April 2025.  
Page 3


 
59                                                                                                                                                        
5. ENVIRONMENT 
5.1. GROSS ENVIRONMENT PRODUCT 
Why in news? 
On World Environment Day 
(June 5), Uttarakhand became 
the first state in India to take 
into account Gross 
Environment Product (GEP) 
while calculating its Gross 
Domestic Product (GDP). 
More in news 
• Four critical natural 
resources- Air, Water, 
Forest and Soil- will be 
assigned monetary values. 
The quality and quantity 
of these natural resources 
would determine the GEP 
of Uttarakhand. 
? Environmentalists 
estimate that 
Uttarakhand through 
its biodiversity gives 
services to the tune of 
Rs 95,112 crore per 
year to the nation. 
• Discussions on having a GEP in the state came after the Kedarnath disaster (2013) and were further 
accentuated by the acute water shortage in the state during summers. 
What is GEP? 
• It is the total value of final ecosystem services supplied to human well-being in a region annually and can 
be measured in terms of biophysical value and monetary value.  
• It indicates the overall health of the environment as GEP measures prime indicators such as forest cover, 
soil erosion, air quality and dissolved oxygen in river water. 
• Unlike Green GDP which is obtained after deducting the damage to the environment from the total 
production of the state, GEP will assess the improvement in the environment components in a year. 
Further it will tell how much work the state has done in reducing the loss of the ecosystem in 
environmental protection and resource use. 
Need for GEP 
• Economic growth alone cannot represent true economic development: and may lower human well-being if 
it is accompanied by growing inequity and environmental degradation.  
? Resource depletion during industrial growth impacts rural growth disproportionately as the rural 
economy depends on such natural resources only. GEP thus forms a balanced development approach 
where ecology is given equal space. 
? Accounting GEP into GDP will give a true measure of the nation's growth towards sustainable 
development. 
• Shortcomings of traditional systems: The Traditional System of National Accounts (SNA) like GDP/GNP 
neither accounts for the value of natural resources and ecosystem services nor the value of 
environmental/resource degradation taking place during the developmental process. 
? Ecosystem Services are “benefits people derive from ecosystems” like provisioning services (food, 
wood etc.) and regulating services (water purification, carbon sequestration etc.) 
 
60                                                                                                                                                        
• Framing adequate policies: GEP helps in understanding the impact of anthropological pressure on our 
ecosystem and natural resources. This will enable us to make policies that will balance ecology and 
economy. 
Issues in capturing GEP into GDP 
• Knowledge gap: There is lack of data and an existent challenge to assign a monetary value to ecosystem 
services. Assigning monetary value to ecosystem services is possible only to a limited extent. 
? For example, the pipal tree in India is revered as a holy tree and religious ceremonies are conducted 
under its shade. Here economic valuation of the tree cannot encompass the complexity and the 
ecological, socio-cultural and institutional heterogeneity of a particular area. 
• Policy gap: There is lack of recognition of ecosystem services in economic decision-making, development 
planning and resource allocation. Value of ecosystem services is either ignored or inadequately understood. 
• Institutional failure: Insufficient ‘Compensation for ecosystem services’ (CES) provided by the government 
to stakeholders. 
? CES involves recognising and compensating people who manage the land that contribute to the long-
term security of ecosystem functions. It is a new financial resource for funding conservation measures 
to ensure a vital ecosystem. Prominent CES mechanism is ‘Payments for Ecosystem Services’ (PES). 
Way forward 
• Incorporate environmental assets accounts: This approach collects data on various types of natural 
capitals like forests, groundwater etc. and convert them into monetary terms. 
• Biophysical and spatio-temporal dynamics of the region needs to be kept in mind while quantifying and 
valuing ecosystem services  
• Develop frameworks to incorporate impacts of climate change on ecosystem services. 
• Develop alternative or complementary non-market methods to evaluate ecosystem services with focus on 
intangible assets, skills and knowledge and cultural values. 
• Factors like social disparities should be accounted for in evaluating ecosystem services. 
Conclusion 
GEP can become an environmental indicator that measures the value of natural resources along with 
improvements done in the ecosystem to truly assess national wellbeing. If Uttarakhand successfully 
implements GEP, pressure will be on other states to do the same. 
Other global standards /initiatives  
• System of Environmental and Economic Accounts (SEEA): guidebook developed by the United Nations to provide 
standards for incorporating natural capital and environmental quality into national accounting systems. 
• China (since 2004) has been undertaking studies to estimate the cost of various types of environmental damage 
which offsets its economic growth. China’s investment in pollution control and renewable energy has been growing 
rapidly since then. 
• The Happy Planet Index (HPI) created by the British New Economics Foundation (NEF) measures national welfare 
in the context of environmental sustainability. 
• Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) has environmental preservation as one of the four policy objectives. 
• Sweden (since 2003) has brought in various environmental indicators (like air emissions , waste etc.) as part of the 
government policy of achieving sustainable development  
5.2. ETHANOL BLENDING IN INDIA 
Why in News? 
Recently, the central government has advanced the target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol (also called as E20), 
by five years to 2025, from 2030. 
More in News 
• The Government has also released an expert committee report on the ‘Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in 
India by 2025’.  
o It proposes a gradual rollout of ethanol-blended fuel to achieve E10 fuel supply by April 2022 and 
phased rollout of E20 from April 2023 to April 2025.  
 
61                                                                                                                                                        
o Earlier, National Biofuel Policy 2018 had envisaged an 
indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol 
and 5% blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030. 
o In 2020, India had set a target of 10% ethanol-blending 
in petrol by 2022, 20% ethanol-blending in petrol by 
2030 and 10% ethanol-blending in diesel by 2030. 
• It also recommends introducing vehicles that are 
compatible by rolling out of E20 material-compliant and 
E10 engine-tuned vehicles from April 2023 and production 
of E20-tuned engine vehicles from April 2025.  
o These efforts will facilitate setting up of additional 
ethanol distillation capacities and will provide timelines 
for making blended fuel available across the country.  
o It will also help increase consumption of ethanol in the ethanol producing states and the adjoining 
regions before the year 2025.  
What is ethanol 
blending? 
• An ethanol blend is 
defined as a blended 
motor fuel 
containing ethyl 
alcohol that is at 
least 99% pure, 
derived from 
agricultural products, 
and blended 
exclusively with 
gasoline. 
o Since it is plant-
based, it is 
considered to be 
a renewable 
fuel. 
• Government has 
allowed ethanol 
production/ 
procurement from 
sugarcane-based 
raw materials viz. C 
& B heavy molasses, 
sugarcane juice / 
sugar / sugar syrup, 
surplus rice with 
Food Corporation of 
India (FCI) and Maize. 
• The Oil Marketing Companies are to procure ethanol from domestic sources and blends ethanol at its 
terminals. 
o Government has been notifying administered price of ethanol since 2014. 
• Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) is the nodal department for promotion of fuel grade 
ethanol producing distilleries in the country. 
Significance of ethanol blending 
• Reduce Pollution: By blending ethanol with petrol, fuel mixture is oxygenated so it burns more completely 
and reduces polluting emissions. It also offers higher octane number in comparison to petrol. 
Page 4


 
59                                                                                                                                                        
5. ENVIRONMENT 
5.1. GROSS ENVIRONMENT PRODUCT 
Why in news? 
On World Environment Day 
(June 5), Uttarakhand became 
the first state in India to take 
into account Gross 
Environment Product (GEP) 
while calculating its Gross 
Domestic Product (GDP). 
More in news 
• Four critical natural 
resources- Air, Water, 
Forest and Soil- will be 
assigned monetary values. 
The quality and quantity 
of these natural resources 
would determine the GEP 
of Uttarakhand. 
? Environmentalists 
estimate that 
Uttarakhand through 
its biodiversity gives 
services to the tune of 
Rs 95,112 crore per 
year to the nation. 
• Discussions on having a GEP in the state came after the Kedarnath disaster (2013) and were further 
accentuated by the acute water shortage in the state during summers. 
What is GEP? 
• It is the total value of final ecosystem services supplied to human well-being in a region annually and can 
be measured in terms of biophysical value and monetary value.  
• It indicates the overall health of the environment as GEP measures prime indicators such as forest cover, 
soil erosion, air quality and dissolved oxygen in river water. 
• Unlike Green GDP which is obtained after deducting the damage to the environment from the total 
production of the state, GEP will assess the improvement in the environment components in a year. 
Further it will tell how much work the state has done in reducing the loss of the ecosystem in 
environmental protection and resource use. 
Need for GEP 
• Economic growth alone cannot represent true economic development: and may lower human well-being if 
it is accompanied by growing inequity and environmental degradation.  
? Resource depletion during industrial growth impacts rural growth disproportionately as the rural 
economy depends on such natural resources only. GEP thus forms a balanced development approach 
where ecology is given equal space. 
? Accounting GEP into GDP will give a true measure of the nation's growth towards sustainable 
development. 
• Shortcomings of traditional systems: The Traditional System of National Accounts (SNA) like GDP/GNP 
neither accounts for the value of natural resources and ecosystem services nor the value of 
environmental/resource degradation taking place during the developmental process. 
? Ecosystem Services are “benefits people derive from ecosystems” like provisioning services (food, 
wood etc.) and regulating services (water purification, carbon sequestration etc.) 
 
60                                                                                                                                                        
• Framing adequate policies: GEP helps in understanding the impact of anthropological pressure on our 
ecosystem and natural resources. This will enable us to make policies that will balance ecology and 
economy. 
Issues in capturing GEP into GDP 
• Knowledge gap: There is lack of data and an existent challenge to assign a monetary value to ecosystem 
services. Assigning monetary value to ecosystem services is possible only to a limited extent. 
? For example, the pipal tree in India is revered as a holy tree and religious ceremonies are conducted 
under its shade. Here economic valuation of the tree cannot encompass the complexity and the 
ecological, socio-cultural and institutional heterogeneity of a particular area. 
• Policy gap: There is lack of recognition of ecosystem services in economic decision-making, development 
planning and resource allocation. Value of ecosystem services is either ignored or inadequately understood. 
• Institutional failure: Insufficient ‘Compensation for ecosystem services’ (CES) provided by the government 
to stakeholders. 
? CES involves recognising and compensating people who manage the land that contribute to the long-
term security of ecosystem functions. It is a new financial resource for funding conservation measures 
to ensure a vital ecosystem. Prominent CES mechanism is ‘Payments for Ecosystem Services’ (PES). 
Way forward 
• Incorporate environmental assets accounts: This approach collects data on various types of natural 
capitals like forests, groundwater etc. and convert them into monetary terms. 
• Biophysical and spatio-temporal dynamics of the region needs to be kept in mind while quantifying and 
valuing ecosystem services  
• Develop frameworks to incorporate impacts of climate change on ecosystem services. 
• Develop alternative or complementary non-market methods to evaluate ecosystem services with focus on 
intangible assets, skills and knowledge and cultural values. 
• Factors like social disparities should be accounted for in evaluating ecosystem services. 
Conclusion 
GEP can become an environmental indicator that measures the value of natural resources along with 
improvements done in the ecosystem to truly assess national wellbeing. If Uttarakhand successfully 
implements GEP, pressure will be on other states to do the same. 
Other global standards /initiatives  
• System of Environmental and Economic Accounts (SEEA): guidebook developed by the United Nations to provide 
standards for incorporating natural capital and environmental quality into national accounting systems. 
• China (since 2004) has been undertaking studies to estimate the cost of various types of environmental damage 
which offsets its economic growth. China’s investment in pollution control and renewable energy has been growing 
rapidly since then. 
• The Happy Planet Index (HPI) created by the British New Economics Foundation (NEF) measures national welfare 
in the context of environmental sustainability. 
• Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) has environmental preservation as one of the four policy objectives. 
• Sweden (since 2003) has brought in various environmental indicators (like air emissions , waste etc.) as part of the 
government policy of achieving sustainable development  
5.2. ETHANOL BLENDING IN INDIA 
Why in News? 
Recently, the central government has advanced the target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol (also called as E20), 
by five years to 2025, from 2030. 
More in News 
• The Government has also released an expert committee report on the ‘Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in 
India by 2025’.  
o It proposes a gradual rollout of ethanol-blended fuel to achieve E10 fuel supply by April 2022 and 
phased rollout of E20 from April 2023 to April 2025.  
 
61                                                                                                                                                        
o Earlier, National Biofuel Policy 2018 had envisaged an 
indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol 
and 5% blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030. 
o In 2020, India had set a target of 10% ethanol-blending 
in petrol by 2022, 20% ethanol-blending in petrol by 
2030 and 10% ethanol-blending in diesel by 2030. 
• It also recommends introducing vehicles that are 
compatible by rolling out of E20 material-compliant and 
E10 engine-tuned vehicles from April 2023 and production 
of E20-tuned engine vehicles from April 2025.  
o These efforts will facilitate setting up of additional 
ethanol distillation capacities and will provide timelines 
for making blended fuel available across the country.  
o It will also help increase consumption of ethanol in the ethanol producing states and the adjoining 
regions before the year 2025.  
What is ethanol 
blending? 
• An ethanol blend is 
defined as a blended 
motor fuel 
containing ethyl 
alcohol that is at 
least 99% pure, 
derived from 
agricultural products, 
and blended 
exclusively with 
gasoline. 
o Since it is plant-
based, it is 
considered to be 
a renewable 
fuel. 
• Government has 
allowed ethanol 
production/ 
procurement from 
sugarcane-based 
raw materials viz. C 
& B heavy molasses, 
sugarcane juice / 
sugar / sugar syrup, 
surplus rice with 
Food Corporation of 
India (FCI) and Maize. 
• The Oil Marketing Companies are to procure ethanol from domestic sources and blends ethanol at its 
terminals. 
o Government has been notifying administered price of ethanol since 2014. 
• Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) is the nodal department for promotion of fuel grade 
ethanol producing distilleries in the country. 
Significance of ethanol blending 
• Reduce Pollution: By blending ethanol with petrol, fuel mixture is oxygenated so it burns more completely 
and reduces polluting emissions. It also offers higher octane number in comparison to petrol. 
 
62                                                                                                                                                        
o Using bioethanol in older engines can help reduce the amount of carbon monoxide produced by the 
vehicle thus improving air quality. 
• Carbon Neutral: Combustion of ethanol made from biomass (such as corn and sugarcane) is considered 
atmospheric carbon neutral because as the biomass grows, it absorbs CO2, which may offset the CO2 
produced when the ethanol is burned. 
• Economic Benefits: It will help lower India’s energy import dependency and thus, lowering the crude oil 
import bill. India’s net import cost stands at $551 billion in 2020-21. It is estimated that the E20 program can 
save the country $4 billion i.e Rs 
30,000 crore per annum.  
• Farmer’s Income: About 10 billion 
litres of ethanol will be required each 
year to meet the 20% ethanol-
blended fuel standard by 2025. 
Hence it is benefitting the sugarcane 
farmers.  
o Last year, oil companies procured 
ethanol worth about Rs 21,000 
crore. 
• International commitment: It helps 
India to fulfil its pledge to reduce its 
carbon footprint from the 2005 levels 
by 33-35% by 2030, as part of its 
commitments to the United Nations 
Framework Convention on Climate 
Change adopted under the Paris 
Agreement. 
Challenges  
• Vehicle Modifications: The use of 
E20 will require new engine 
specifications and changes to the fuel 
lines, as well as some plastic and 
rubber parts due to the fuel’s 
corrosive nature.  
o The engines will need to be 
recalibrated to achieve the 
required power, efficiency and 
emission level balance due to the lower energy density of the fuel.  
• Pricing of E20 vehicles: The cost of E20 compatible vehicles is expected to be higher in the range of Rs 3000 
to Rs 5000 for four-wheelers and Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 for two-wheelers, above the cost of ordinary vehicles 
tailored to run on 100% gasoline.  
• Water Footprint: Sugarcane is a water intensive crop and continues to be the most lucrative food crop for 
ethanol even though it has highest water consumption per acre.  
o One litre of ethanol from sugar requires about 2860 litres of water.  
• Ethanol production facilities: India has an ethanol production capacity of 684 crore litre. For the targeted 
20% blending of ethanol in petrol by 2030, the country will need a 1,000-crore litre capacity.  
• Pricing: The prices of ethanol produced in India are higher in comparison to global players, since the cost of 
raw materials like sugarcane and food grains are fixed by the government to support the farming 
community.  
• Inter-state movement of ethanol: Restrictions on inter-state movement of ethanol due to non-
implementation of the amended provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 by all the 
States. As on date only 14 states have implemented the amended provisions. 
• Availability of ethanol across the country: Ethanol is not produced or available in some states for blending 
and about 50% of total pump nozzles in India are supplying only E0.  
Recent Initiatives to promote bioethanol 
• Under PM-JIVAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh 
Nivaran) Yojana, 12 commercial plants and 10 demonstration 
plants of Second Generation (2G) Bio-Refineries are envisaged to 
be set up in areas having sufficient availability of biomass so that 
ethanol is available for blending throughout the country.  
• 2G plants utilise surplus biomass and agricultural waste to 
produce bioethanol. 
• Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved ?8,460 
crore Modified scheme for extending interest subvention for 
those setting up standalone ethanol distilleries using grain, 
molasses, dual feed, sugar beet, sweet sorghum and cereals as a 
feedstock.  
o The focus is on increasing India’s ethanol production capacity. 
• Prime Minister has launched a Pilot Project of E 100 dispensing 
stations at three locations in Pune. 
Ethanol-based 'flex-fuel' vehicles 
• An FFV is a modified version of vehicles that could run both on 
gasoline and doped petrol with different levels of ethanol blends.  
o These are currently being used successfully in Brazil, giving 
people the option to switch fuel (gasoline and ethanol). 
• Government plans to issue guidelines for 'flex-fuel' vehicles (FFV) 
by October. 
o The government is also working on an incentive scheme to 
promote manufacture and use of flex engines in vehicles. 
• For auto companies, introduction of FFVs will pose another 
challenge that they are already facing with the fast adoption of 
electric vehicles. If standards on FFVs are made mandatory, it 
would require additional investment in production lines and 
technology transfers to change the character of the vehicles. 
Page 5


 
59                                                                                                                                                        
5. ENVIRONMENT 
5.1. GROSS ENVIRONMENT PRODUCT 
Why in news? 
On World Environment Day 
(June 5), Uttarakhand became 
the first state in India to take 
into account Gross 
Environment Product (GEP) 
while calculating its Gross 
Domestic Product (GDP). 
More in news 
• Four critical natural 
resources- Air, Water, 
Forest and Soil- will be 
assigned monetary values. 
The quality and quantity 
of these natural resources 
would determine the GEP 
of Uttarakhand. 
? Environmentalists 
estimate that 
Uttarakhand through 
its biodiversity gives 
services to the tune of 
Rs 95,112 crore per 
year to the nation. 
• Discussions on having a GEP in the state came after the Kedarnath disaster (2013) and were further 
accentuated by the acute water shortage in the state during summers. 
What is GEP? 
• It is the total value of final ecosystem services supplied to human well-being in a region annually and can 
be measured in terms of biophysical value and monetary value.  
• It indicates the overall health of the environment as GEP measures prime indicators such as forest cover, 
soil erosion, air quality and dissolved oxygen in river water. 
• Unlike Green GDP which is obtained after deducting the damage to the environment from the total 
production of the state, GEP will assess the improvement in the environment components in a year. 
Further it will tell how much work the state has done in reducing the loss of the ecosystem in 
environmental protection and resource use. 
Need for GEP 
• Economic growth alone cannot represent true economic development: and may lower human well-being if 
it is accompanied by growing inequity and environmental degradation.  
? Resource depletion during industrial growth impacts rural growth disproportionately as the rural 
economy depends on such natural resources only. GEP thus forms a balanced development approach 
where ecology is given equal space. 
? Accounting GEP into GDP will give a true measure of the nation's growth towards sustainable 
development. 
• Shortcomings of traditional systems: The Traditional System of National Accounts (SNA) like GDP/GNP 
neither accounts for the value of natural resources and ecosystem services nor the value of 
environmental/resource degradation taking place during the developmental process. 
? Ecosystem Services are “benefits people derive from ecosystems” like provisioning services (food, 
wood etc.) and regulating services (water purification, carbon sequestration etc.) 
 
60                                                                                                                                                        
• Framing adequate policies: GEP helps in understanding the impact of anthropological pressure on our 
ecosystem and natural resources. This will enable us to make policies that will balance ecology and 
economy. 
Issues in capturing GEP into GDP 
• Knowledge gap: There is lack of data and an existent challenge to assign a monetary value to ecosystem 
services. Assigning monetary value to ecosystem services is possible only to a limited extent. 
? For example, the pipal tree in India is revered as a holy tree and religious ceremonies are conducted 
under its shade. Here economic valuation of the tree cannot encompass the complexity and the 
ecological, socio-cultural and institutional heterogeneity of a particular area. 
• Policy gap: There is lack of recognition of ecosystem services in economic decision-making, development 
planning and resource allocation. Value of ecosystem services is either ignored or inadequately understood. 
• Institutional failure: Insufficient ‘Compensation for ecosystem services’ (CES) provided by the government 
to stakeholders. 
? CES involves recognising and compensating people who manage the land that contribute to the long-
term security of ecosystem functions. It is a new financial resource for funding conservation measures 
to ensure a vital ecosystem. Prominent CES mechanism is ‘Payments for Ecosystem Services’ (PES). 
Way forward 
• Incorporate environmental assets accounts: This approach collects data on various types of natural 
capitals like forests, groundwater etc. and convert them into monetary terms. 
• Biophysical and spatio-temporal dynamics of the region needs to be kept in mind while quantifying and 
valuing ecosystem services  
• Develop frameworks to incorporate impacts of climate change on ecosystem services. 
• Develop alternative or complementary non-market methods to evaluate ecosystem services with focus on 
intangible assets, skills and knowledge and cultural values. 
• Factors like social disparities should be accounted for in evaluating ecosystem services. 
Conclusion 
GEP can become an environmental indicator that measures the value of natural resources along with 
improvements done in the ecosystem to truly assess national wellbeing. If Uttarakhand successfully 
implements GEP, pressure will be on other states to do the same. 
Other global standards /initiatives  
• System of Environmental and Economic Accounts (SEEA): guidebook developed by the United Nations to provide 
standards for incorporating natural capital and environmental quality into national accounting systems. 
• China (since 2004) has been undertaking studies to estimate the cost of various types of environmental damage 
which offsets its economic growth. China’s investment in pollution control and renewable energy has been growing 
rapidly since then. 
• The Happy Planet Index (HPI) created by the British New Economics Foundation (NEF) measures national welfare 
in the context of environmental sustainability. 
• Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) has environmental preservation as one of the four policy objectives. 
• Sweden (since 2003) has brought in various environmental indicators (like air emissions , waste etc.) as part of the 
government policy of achieving sustainable development  
5.2. ETHANOL BLENDING IN INDIA 
Why in News? 
Recently, the central government has advanced the target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol (also called as E20), 
by five years to 2025, from 2030. 
More in News 
• The Government has also released an expert committee report on the ‘Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in 
India by 2025’.  
o It proposes a gradual rollout of ethanol-blended fuel to achieve E10 fuel supply by April 2022 and 
phased rollout of E20 from April 2023 to April 2025.  
 
61                                                                                                                                                        
o Earlier, National Biofuel Policy 2018 had envisaged an 
indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol 
and 5% blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030. 
o In 2020, India had set a target of 10% ethanol-blending 
in petrol by 2022, 20% ethanol-blending in petrol by 
2030 and 10% ethanol-blending in diesel by 2030. 
• It also recommends introducing vehicles that are 
compatible by rolling out of E20 material-compliant and 
E10 engine-tuned vehicles from April 2023 and production 
of E20-tuned engine vehicles from April 2025.  
o These efforts will facilitate setting up of additional 
ethanol distillation capacities and will provide timelines 
for making blended fuel available across the country.  
o It will also help increase consumption of ethanol in the ethanol producing states and the adjoining 
regions before the year 2025.  
What is ethanol 
blending? 
• An ethanol blend is 
defined as a blended 
motor fuel 
containing ethyl 
alcohol that is at 
least 99% pure, 
derived from 
agricultural products, 
and blended 
exclusively with 
gasoline. 
o Since it is plant-
based, it is 
considered to be 
a renewable 
fuel. 
• Government has 
allowed ethanol 
production/ 
procurement from 
sugarcane-based 
raw materials viz. C 
& B heavy molasses, 
sugarcane juice / 
sugar / sugar syrup, 
surplus rice with 
Food Corporation of 
India (FCI) and Maize. 
• The Oil Marketing Companies are to procure ethanol from domestic sources and blends ethanol at its 
terminals. 
o Government has been notifying administered price of ethanol since 2014. 
• Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) is the nodal department for promotion of fuel grade 
ethanol producing distilleries in the country. 
Significance of ethanol blending 
• Reduce Pollution: By blending ethanol with petrol, fuel mixture is oxygenated so it burns more completely 
and reduces polluting emissions. It also offers higher octane number in comparison to petrol. 
 
62                                                                                                                                                        
o Using bioethanol in older engines can help reduce the amount of carbon monoxide produced by the 
vehicle thus improving air quality. 
• Carbon Neutral: Combustion of ethanol made from biomass (such as corn and sugarcane) is considered 
atmospheric carbon neutral because as the biomass grows, it absorbs CO2, which may offset the CO2 
produced when the ethanol is burned. 
• Economic Benefits: It will help lower India’s energy import dependency and thus, lowering the crude oil 
import bill. India’s net import cost stands at $551 billion in 2020-21. It is estimated that the E20 program can 
save the country $4 billion i.e Rs 
30,000 crore per annum.  
• Farmer’s Income: About 10 billion 
litres of ethanol will be required each 
year to meet the 20% ethanol-
blended fuel standard by 2025. 
Hence it is benefitting the sugarcane 
farmers.  
o Last year, oil companies procured 
ethanol worth about Rs 21,000 
crore. 
• International commitment: It helps 
India to fulfil its pledge to reduce its 
carbon footprint from the 2005 levels 
by 33-35% by 2030, as part of its 
commitments to the United Nations 
Framework Convention on Climate 
Change adopted under the Paris 
Agreement. 
Challenges  
• Vehicle Modifications: The use of 
E20 will require new engine 
specifications and changes to the fuel 
lines, as well as some plastic and 
rubber parts due to the fuel’s 
corrosive nature.  
o The engines will need to be 
recalibrated to achieve the 
required power, efficiency and 
emission level balance due to the lower energy density of the fuel.  
• Pricing of E20 vehicles: The cost of E20 compatible vehicles is expected to be higher in the range of Rs 3000 
to Rs 5000 for four-wheelers and Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 for two-wheelers, above the cost of ordinary vehicles 
tailored to run on 100% gasoline.  
• Water Footprint: Sugarcane is a water intensive crop and continues to be the most lucrative food crop for 
ethanol even though it has highest water consumption per acre.  
o One litre of ethanol from sugar requires about 2860 litres of water.  
• Ethanol production facilities: India has an ethanol production capacity of 684 crore litre. For the targeted 
20% blending of ethanol in petrol by 2030, the country will need a 1,000-crore litre capacity.  
• Pricing: The prices of ethanol produced in India are higher in comparison to global players, since the cost of 
raw materials like sugarcane and food grains are fixed by the government to support the farming 
community.  
• Inter-state movement of ethanol: Restrictions on inter-state movement of ethanol due to non-
implementation of the amended provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 by all the 
States. As on date only 14 states have implemented the amended provisions. 
• Availability of ethanol across the country: Ethanol is not produced or available in some states for blending 
and about 50% of total pump nozzles in India are supplying only E0.  
Recent Initiatives to promote bioethanol 
• Under PM-JIVAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh 
Nivaran) Yojana, 12 commercial plants and 10 demonstration 
plants of Second Generation (2G) Bio-Refineries are envisaged to 
be set up in areas having sufficient availability of biomass so that 
ethanol is available for blending throughout the country.  
• 2G plants utilise surplus biomass and agricultural waste to 
produce bioethanol. 
• Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved ?8,460 
crore Modified scheme for extending interest subvention for 
those setting up standalone ethanol distilleries using grain, 
molasses, dual feed, sugar beet, sweet sorghum and cereals as a 
feedstock.  
o The focus is on increasing India’s ethanol production capacity. 
• Prime Minister has launched a Pilot Project of E 100 dispensing 
stations at three locations in Pune. 
Ethanol-based 'flex-fuel' vehicles 
• An FFV is a modified version of vehicles that could run both on 
gasoline and doped petrol with different levels of ethanol blends.  
o These are currently being used successfully in Brazil, giving 
people the option to switch fuel (gasoline and ethanol). 
• Government plans to issue guidelines for 'flex-fuel' vehicles (FFV) 
by October. 
o The government is also working on an incentive scheme to 
promote manufacture and use of flex engines in vehicles. 
• For auto companies, introduction of FFVs will pose another 
challenge that they are already facing with the fast adoption of 
electric vehicles. If standards on FFVs are made mandatory, it 
would require additional investment in production lines and 
technology transfers to change the character of the vehicles. 
 
63                                                                                                                                                        
About National Hydrology Project (NHP) 
• NHP, under MoJS, aims to improve the extent, 
quality and accessibility of water resources 
information and to strengthen the capacity of 
targeted water resources management institutions in 
India. 
• Under NHP, National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), 
ISRO, is carrying out hydrological studies using 
satellite data and geo-spatial techniques.  
o As part of this, detailed glacial lake inventory, 
prioritization for GLOF risk, and simulation of 
GLOF for selected lakes are taken up for entire 
catchment of Indian Himalayan Rivers covering 
Indus, Ganga, and Brahmaputra River basin. 
About Glacial Lake 
• It is defined as water mass existing in a sufficient 
amount and extending with a free surface in, under, 
beside, and/or in front of a glacier and originating 
from glacier activities and/or retreating processes of 
a glacier. 
• As glaciers retreat, the formation of glacial lakes 
takes place behind moraine or ice ‘dam’. 
• These damming materials are generally weak and 
can breach suddenly due to various triggering 
factors, leading to catastrophic floods. Such outburst 
floods are known as GLOF. 
o Also, blending has not been taken up in North-East states due to non-availability of feedstock or 
industries.  
• Logistics: Transport of ethanol to different places for blending will increase the cost of logistics and 
transport related emissions.  
Way forward 
• Pricing of Ethanol blended fuel: For better acceptability of higher ethanol blends in the country, retail price 
of such fuels should be lower than normal petrol to compensate for the reduction in calorific value.  
• Diversify Crops: There is need to explore the feasibility of other grains which can supplement sugar in 
ethanol production to meet the 2025 targets.  
• Incentives for EBP vehicles: Globally, vehicles compliant with higher ethanol blends are provided with tax 
benefits.  
• Technology Upgradation: Technology for production of ethanol from non-food feedstock should be 
promoted so as to tap abundantly available resource without causing any tradeoff with the food production 
system.  
• Ensure timely availability: OMCs need to set up ethanol distillation facilities and need to provide timelines 
for making blended fuel available across the country. 
o The blending percentage of ethanol with petrol has gone up from 1.53% in 2013-14 to 8.5% in 2020-21. 
• Government support to enhance production: Experts point out that many sugar mills which are best placed 
to produce bioethanol do not have the financial stability to invest in biofuel plants. 
5.3. GLACIAL LAKE ATLAS OF GANGA RIVER BASIN 
Why in News? 
Recently, Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) released an 
atlas of glacial lakes that are part of the Ganga River 
basin.  
More on News 
• Atlas is brought out under National Hydrology 
Project (NHP).  
• In the present study, glacial lakes with water 
spread area = 0.25 ha have been mapped using 
Resourcesat-2 satellite data. 
About Ganga River Basin 
• The Ganga River basin extends over Central 
Himalayas in India, Nepal, Tibet (China), and 
Bangladesh.  
• It contains 9 of the 14 highest peaks in the world 
over 8,000 m in height, including Mt. Everest. 
o Other peaks over 8,000 m in the basin are 
Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, 
Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Annapurna, and 
Shishapangma. 
• In this atlas, Ganga River basin has been divided 
into 11 subbasins (refer infographic) on the basis 
of confluence of major rivers contributing into the system viz., Yamuna joining on the right, whereas riv ers 
like Sarda, Ghaghara, Gandak, and Kosi joining on the left.  
• Climate over the Ganga River basin is mainly tropical and subtropical to temperate subhumid on the plains. 
• Ganga River basin carries average annual water potential of about 525 billion Cubic Metre (BCM), of which 
total utilizable surface water resource in the basin is 250 BCM.  
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FAQs on Environment: June 2021 Current Affair - Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams - BPSC (Bihar)

1. What are the major causes of air pollution?
Ans. The major causes of air pollution include industrial emissions, vehicle exhaust, burning of fossil fuels, agricultural activities, and indoor pollutants such as cooking and heating.
2. How does deforestation contribute to climate change?
Ans. Deforestation contributes to climate change by reducing the number of trees that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This leads to an increase in greenhouse gases, which results in the warming of the Earth's surface and disruption of the climate system.
3. What is the impact of plastic pollution on marine life?
Ans. Plastic pollution has a severe impact on marine life. Marine animals often mistake plastic debris for food and ingest it, causing internal injuries, blockages, and even death. Additionally, plastic debris can entangle marine animals, leading to injuries, suffocation, and hindered mobility.
4. How does climate change affect biodiversity?
Ans. Climate change affects biodiversity by altering ecosystems and natural habitats. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events can cause shifts in species' distributions, disruption of breeding and migration patterns, and loss of habitats, leading to a decline in biodiversity.
5. What are the consequences of water pollution on human health?
Ans. Water pollution can have severe consequences on human health. Contaminated water sources can lead to the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. Exposure to pollutants in water can also cause long-term health issues, including organ damage, developmental problems, and an increased risk of cancer.
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