Centre introduces Antarctica Bill in Lok Sabha

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Centre introduces Antarctica Bill in Lok Sabha

  • The government recently introduced the ‘Antarctica Bill’ in the Lower House of Parliament
  • It envisages regulating visits and activities to Antarctica as well potential disputes that may arise among those present on the continent.
  • It also prescribes penal provisions for certain serious violations

Need for the Antarctic Bill

  • Since 1983, India had been a party to the Antarctica Treaty, which required it to establish a set of regulations controlling areas of the continent where it had research sites.
  • India is also a signatory to treaties like the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
  • Both of these obligate India to assist conserve Antarctica's natural features.
  • As a result, the Antarctic Bill 2022 has been introduced in order to achieve the goals of these treaties.

Aim of the Bill

  • To have India's own national measures in place to conserve the Antarctic environment and its associated ecology.
  • To regulate Antarctica visits and activities, as well as any potential conflicts that may occur among individuals who are present on the continent.
  • To impose penalties for certain major breaches.

Key provisions of the Bill

  • Indians, foreign citizens, corporations, firms, and joint ventures operating in India, as well as any vessel or aircraft that is either Indian or part of an Indian expedition, will be covered by the bill.
  • Indian expedition to Antarctica: The bill prohibits Indian expeditions to Antarctica or the conduct of specified operations in Antarctica without a permit or the written consent of another protocol party.
  • The Antarctic Governance and Environmental Protection Committee has been established to monitor, execute, and assure compliance with essential international laws, emission regulations, and environmental protection norms.
  • Drilling, dredging, excavation, or collection of mineral resources, as well as any activity aimed at identifying where such deposits exist, are all prohibited under the bill. The only exemption is scientific study that has been granted a permission.
  • Damage to native flora, flying or landing helicopters, operating vessels that could disturb birds or seals, and taking soil or biological material endemic to Antarctica would all be strictly prohibited.
  • It is also forbidden to introduce animals, birds, plants, or microscopic organisms that are not native to Antarctica.
  • Provisions for Indian Tour Companies: After obtaining a permission, Indian tour operators would be authorised to operate in Antarctica.

Exam track

Prelims takeaway

  • Maitri
  • Bharati
  • Himadri
  • Aurora
  • Antarctica Treaty