Annual Review of the GOBARdhan Initiative

7 March 2024
Compressed Biogas

The degradation of natural resources and the environment has led the world to think and introduce sustainable solutions that can benefit the human race and nature. With this in mind, the Indian government has been taking necessary actions to set up biogas and compressed biogas plants in the country. These actions will help reduce the country’s dependence on imports and substitute other gasses for household and commercial applications.

Among all the initiatives of the Indian Government, GOBARDHAN is a multi-ministerial initiative that aims to convert waste into wealth. Let us look into the year-end review of this initiative.

The initiative transforms organic waste like agricultural residues, food waste, cattle dung, and human waste into sustainable resources like compressed biogas (CBG) and biogas. In addition, GOBARdhan also aims to promote the circular economy using the “Whole of Government” approach.

The 2023 budget provided a boost for this transformative initiative. The government granted an investment amount of INR 10,000 crore for establishing 500 waste-to-wealth plants. Throughout the financial year 2023-24, 198 new plants (186 biogas plants and 12 CBG plants) were established. Around 556 plants (427 biogas and 129 CBG plants) are under construction.

The Indian government has actively taken steps to promote GOBARdhan. Some of the initiatives are:

  • CBG, i.e., Compressed Biogas, is now on the activity list for carbon credits trading under cooperative or bilateral approaches. It will open new sources of revenue for CBG plant owners.
  • The government introduced a duty exemption for CBG blended with CNG on February 2, 2023. It is done to avoid double taxation.
  • DA&FW issues FCO (Fertiliser Control Order) amendment notification for
    • Granting exemption for authorization letter requirement for sale of LFOM (Liquid Fermented Organic Manure) / FOM (Fermented Organic Manure) for three years.
    • Increasing the moisture content norms to 30-70% from 30-40% in FOM.
    • Increasing pH content in FOM/LFOM from 6.5-8.0 to 6.5-8.4 and C/N ratio from less than 20 to up to 30.
  • Approval and implementation of MDA (Market Development Assistance) scheme to incentivize marketing and sale of FOM/LFOM.
  • ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) worked on a report, “Utilization of bioslurry in various cropping systems,” along with a package of practices for FOM/LFOM application for several crops to highlight its benefits on farm productivity and soil health.
  • Issued notification allowing the sale of LFOM/FOM in bulk so that CBG plant owners/operators can easily market LFOM/FOM and promote organic marketing.
  • The MoPNG’s CBG-CGD synchronization scheme is extended for 10 years (till 2024) to strengthen the CBG production and consumption.
  • NBCC (National Biofuel Coordination Committee) approved the mandatory phased introduction of 5% CBG blending to strengthen CBG production and consumption.
  • The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitization developed a unified registration portal for GOBARdhan. It was launched on June 1, 2023, to streamline the registration and monitoring of biogas and CBG plants across India.
  • The portal’s expansion includes several crucial functionalities like the “Functionality Assessment Module” to analyze the plant’s functionality status and the “Bank Loan Module” to track the status of loan applications and receive responses from the bank.

With all the policies and initiatives, the Indian government aims to increase the awareness, implementation, and reach of Biogas plants. In addition, this will make the industry investment-friendly.

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