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Indian Antarctic Bill 2022:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Scientific Developments.

 

Context:

Nearly 40 years after India first signed the Antarctic Treaty, the government has brought in the Indian Antarctic Bill-2022 to regulate and monitor activities at its research stations in the frozen continent.

 

Key features of the bill:

  • It envisages regulating visits and activities to Antarctica as well potential disputes that may arise among those present on the continent.
  • Applicability: The Bill will apply to Indians, foreign citizens, corporations, firms and joint ventures functioning in India, and any vessel or aircraft that is either Indian or part of an Indian expedition.
  • It prescribes penal provisions for certain serious violations.
  • It prohibits Indian expedition to Antarctica or carrying of certain activities in Antarctica without a permit or the written authorisation of another party to the protocol.
  • It provide for inspection in India by an officer designated by the Central government as an Inspector and to constitute an inspection team to carry out inspections in Antarctica.
  • It provides for the constitution of the fund to be called the Antarctic fund which shall be applied towards the welfare of Antarctic research work and protection of Antarctic environment.

 

Need for legislation:

  • India had been a signatory to the Antarctica Treaty since 1983 that encumbered India to specify a set of laws governing portions of the continent where it had its research bases.
  • The Treaty made it mandatory for the 54 signatory countries to specify laws governing territories on which their stations are located.
  • India is also signatory to treaties such as the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, both of which enjoin India to help preserve the pristine nature of the continent.

Also, there is growing concern over preserving the pristine Antarctic environment and ocean around Antarctica from exploitation of marine living resources and human presence in Antarctica.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about India’s two operational research Stations- Maitri & Bharati in Antarctica? Read Here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Antarctic Treaty.
  2. About Antarctic Treaty System.
  3. India’s missions in Arctic and Antarctic.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives of Antarctic Treaty. Is it relevant still today? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.