Cabinet Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has urged public sector undertakings (PSUs) to create a startup fund to boost innovation in the energy sector.
The proposal came in light of the recent startup investments initiatives of Narayan Murthy and Ratan Tata. “I am advising my CEO friends in public sector undertakings that if Ratan Tata can put his private funds for startups and if Narayana Murthy can do that for new startups then why can’t you,” said Pradhan while addressing a conference on methanol organised by NITI Aayog.
In August 2016, the ONGC announced a $15 Mn fund for startups to nurture and incubate new ideas in the oil and gas sector. As part of this initiative, startups will be provided with an entire support chain – seed capital, mentoring, market linkage and follow-ups. A dedicated website too will be added on.
“ONGC has already offered INR 100 Cr ($15 Mn) for startups. Can we also create a synergy in innovation? This kind of startup fund can be a win-win situation for all of us. Let us create a platform for our young Indians and scientific brains,” he said.
With rising consumption of petrol in India, he also proposed to offer $15 Bn (INR 1 Lakh Cr) business to the scientific community to reduce the import dependency of the country. “Now India is importing $67.8 Bn (INR 4.5 Lakh Cr) worth of hydrocarbons. The technology is already present. Blending 85% of ethanol in transportation fuel is possible,” he added.
Furthermore, he believes that an economy based on clean fuel like methanol can create a lot of employment and entrepreneurship. “”The raw material (for methanol) should be coming from the Indian market. If we could monetise the agriculture waste and bio waste in urban areas to energy then there will a sizeable reduction of health expenditure and our economy can benefit multi-fold,” he said.
Also, NITI Aayog signed a Statement of Intent with the US Methanol Institute to work further on the technology and set up an expert group to develop a roadmap for India to adopt a ‘Methanol Economy’.
The development was first reported by Business Standard.