Gadkari stated that now was the perfect time for India to become a methanol-based economy.
"We are going to develop this country where our import of petroleum will be zero. We are promoting alternative fuels like ethanol, methanol, bio-CNG […] this will boost the rural and agriculture centre and create huge employment," he said.
Though global prices are currently low, India's current crude import costs the country some Rs 4.5 lakh crore (some $67 billion) annually, Gadkari said, adding that turning the country to an alternative fuel economy will positively impact agriculture and the rural economy. Gadkari suggested that it will provide support to rural farmers, as, during the last several years, about 10,000 farmers in the Vadarbha region have committed suicide due to failing harvests and increasing costs.
Gadkari drew attention to the need for scientific research, technology funding and entrepreneurship support, and, according to him, the National Institution for Transforming India Aayog (NITI Aayog) is taking the initiative. The minister also pointed to the possibility of using flex-fuel cars, already in use in the US and Brazil.
An expert group established by NITI Aayog will investigate commercially-profitable technological angles for developing methanol production from natural gas, coal and various types of waste. The group will draw a roadmap to adopt a "methanol economy."
The minister emphasized the necessity to spur the process at the local level: "If there is a will, there is a way. If there is no will there is no way."