In a proposal to augment its sustainability offerings, the Union Ministry of Tourism launched the comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) for accommodation, tour operators and beaches, backwaters, lakes and rivers sectors.
STCI has been launched to develop tourism in India based on principles of sustainability and minimizing carbon footprints. While talking about sustainability, one should not only talk about conservation of resources but also our culture and heritage. All the stakeholders in the Tourism industry have been requested to be eco-sensitive and implement the STCI and have been requested to do business for long-term profits with diverse aims.
The principles of sustainability include:
Conservation of water, energy, culture, heritage, revival of ancient architecture, involvement of communities, protection of wildlife and non- exploitation of women, children and weaker sections.
The Supreme Court declared illegal all coal block allocations between 1993 and 2010, saying these were done in an unfair, arbitrary and non-transparent manner without following any objective criteria. The court, however, said that further hearing was required to decide whether there is a need for cancelling around 200 coal block allocations.
The petitions were based on the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report that the exchequer suffered a loss of Rs. 1.64 lakh crore due to the arbitrary allocations of coal blocks. The coal blocks allocated to private companies between 2004 to March 2010 are situated in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
India launched “The Green Bus project” in Nagpur with the launch of its first ethanol-run, environment-friendly public bus. The bus will emit carbon dioxide as low as 15% to 90% and its emissions will be monitored by the Union government, Maharashtra state government and Nagpur Municipal Corporation.
The buses are manufactured by Swedish company Scania Commercial Vehicle India Ltd. Scania has additionally introduced an engine in consonance with Bharat Stage 5 Norms, a step toward further reducing the emissions.
PM Narendra Modi stressed on the need to promote tourism saying it provides employment to the poorest of the poor. He pointed out ‘filthiness’ in the country as a big obstacle in promoting tourism and our national character.
He observed that even after so many years of independence, when we stand at the threshold of one and half decade of 21st century, we still live in filthiness. He held that “cleanliness is very big work”. He called upon the countrymen to make a resolve that they would never spread filthiness and keep their surroundings clean.
He decided to launch a ‘Clean India’ campaign from October 2, 2014 this year on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi marking the importance Mahatma gave to cleanliness. The campaign will be carried out for next 4 years and will conclude on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma in 2019.
Mr. Modi appealed to the Members of Parliaments to utilize MPLAD funds for constructing toilets in schools for a year. He called upon the corporate sector also to give priority to the provision of toilets in schools with their expenditure under Corporate Social Responsibility. He urged them to achieve this target within one year with the help of state governments and on the next August 15, we should be in a firm position to announce that there is no school in India without separate toilets for boys and girls.