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India Consults on ‘Blue Bonds’

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has issued a new consultation paper on an enhanced regulatory framework for green debt securities. SEBI already has a framework for green bonds, but most Indian issuers currently issue their green bonds overseas, due to perceived lack of domestic demand and favourable pricing in other markets. The consultation proposes to expand the definition of green debt securities to cover more of India’s commitments from COP26, and to allow more investment to be channeled into pollution prevention and control and waste reduction/recycling, as well as emerging areas like data centres, circular economy, regional resource-based manufacturing, and agritech. SEBI also proposes to introduce the concept of blue bonds, where the proceeds would be invested in areas like oceanic resource mining, sustainable fishing, offshore wind installations, coral rejuvenation, and geoengineering techniques like ocean fertilisation and ocean nourishment. Under the proposals, disclosure requirements would be enhanced to require issuers to provide information on the intended types of temporary placement for unallocated proceeds, and to require the utilisation of proceeds from each issue to be tracked and disclosed.

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