21, October 2016

1.Launch of Implementation of Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India – Ministry of Tourism

Source: PIB

Implementation  of the Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) in association with Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI)

Sustainable developments:

The Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) had been developed sectors of the tourism industry after thorough discussions with the stakeholders.

The STCI follow the guidelines set by the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) that has been evolved under the guidance of the United Nations’ agencies viz. UNEP and UNWTO.

The  STCI were developed with the need for developing criteria for sustainable tourism specific to India given the specific environment that India’s tourism industry operates in and drawing inspiration from India’s attainments in sustainability.


The UNWTO Elibrary is an online service from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with a broad coverage of tourism and related subject areas.

The subject areas reflect all important themes moving the tourism sector and include, among other, ecotourism, sustainable development, finance and investment, risk and crisis management, market research, tourism statistics and poverty alleviation.

2.Okha-Kanalus, Porbandar-Wansjaliya sections of Gujarat become Green Train Corridors

Source: PIB

The Union Ministry of Railways has declared the Okha-Kanalus and the Porbandar-Wansjaliya railway sections of Gujarat as Green Train Corridors.

All trains passing on these 175-km long lines (141-km-long Okha-Kanalus route and the 34-km-long Porbandar-Wansjaliya route) are now equipped with bio-toilets.

Green Train Corridors?

Green Train Corridors are sections of the railways which will be free of human waste discharge on the tracks. Trains running on these corridors will be equipped with bio-toilets. Thus, it will completely stop discharge of human waste from trains onto the ground which in turn would help in improving cleanliness and hygiene.

The 114-km long Rameswaram-Manamadurai section of Tamil Nadu was made the India’s first Green Rail Corridor in July 2016.


The environment-friendly bio-toilets for passenger coaches were developed jointly by Indian Railways and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

In the bio-toilet fitted coaches, human waste is collected in biodigester tanks below the toilets and is decomposed by a consortium of anaerobic bacteria.

By the process of hydrolysis, acetogenesis, acidogenesis and methanogenesis, the anaerobic bacteria converts human faecal matter into water and small amount of gases (including methane).

3.HDFC raises Rs 500 crore via masala bonds

Source: The Hindu

Mortgage lender HDFC has said that it has raised Rs 500 crore through rupee-denominated bonds from overseas investors.

Masala bonds:

The rupee-denominated bonds or masala bonds are instruments through which Indian entities can raise funds by accessing overseas capital markets, while the bond investors hold the currency risk.

That is Masala bond is a term used to refer to a financial instrument through which Indian entities can raise money from overseas markets in the rupee, not foreign currency. In other words, they are rupee-denominated bonds issued to overseas buyers.

The term is used to refer to rupee-denominated borrowings by Indian entities in overseas markets. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank , issued a ₹1,000 crore bond to fund infrastructure projects in India.

Why is it important?

Masala bonds, if they take off, can be quite a significant plus for the Indian economy.

They are issued to foreign investors and settled in US dollars.

Hence the currency risk lies with the investor and not the issuer, unlike external commercial borrowings (ECBs), where Indian companies raise money in foreign currency loans. While ECBs help companies take advantage of the lower interest rates in international markets, the cost of hedging the currency risk can be significant.

If unhedged, adverse exchange rate movements can come back to bite the borrower. But in the case of Masala bonds, the cost of borrowing can work out much lower. The RBI in its April policy said that it would issue guidelines for allowing corporates to issue rupee bonds in overseas markets.

4.Triple talaq a highly misused custom: NCW

Source: The Hindu

Asking the government to scrap the triple talaq system to protect the rights of Muslim women, the National Commission of Women (NCW) has observed that the system was a “highly misused” custom.

  • The commission also observed that this issue cannot be linked to the Uniform Civil Code.
  • The commission has received several representations from Muslim women who said they felt “disempowered” because of the practice of triple talaq.

About NCW:

The National Commission for Women (NCW) is a statutory body of the Government of India, generally concerned with advising the government on all policy matters affecting women.

It was established in January 1992 under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, as defined in the 1990 National Commission for Women Act.

The objective of the NCW is to represent the rights of women in India and to provide a voice for their issues and concerns.

5.UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana)

Source: PIB

Scheme  moved by the Ministry of Power – Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna or UDAY.

UDAY provides for the financial turnaround and revival of Power Distribution companies (DISCOMs), and importantly also ensures a sustainable permanent solution to the problem.

Under the UDAY scheme, state governments are to take over 75 per cent of their respective discoms’ debt, and would issue bonds to pay the debt back. The remaining 25 per cent would be financed by bonds issued by the discoms themselves, guaranteed by the state government.


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