Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 passed by Lok Sabha- Know Key Features, Penalties - Today Quizzes

Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 passed by Lok Sabha- Know Key Features, Penalties



Indian Antarctic Bill 2022: Lok Sabha on July 22, 2022 passed the Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022. The bill aims to bring Indian research stations in the Antarctic region under domestic laws of the country.

The Indian Antarctica Bill 2022 was taken up for discussion after the House reassembled in the afternoon following the second adjournment. The bill was tabled for consideration by Union Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh. 

India has two active research station in the Antarctic region-Bharti and Maitri. The research stations are bases for scientists doing research in the region. The bill seeks to extend the application of domestic laws to these research stations as well, as they do not fall under its ambit currently. 

What is Indian Antarctic Bill 2022?

The Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 seeks to extend the jurisdiction of Indian courts to Antarctica. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on April 1, 2022 and has become the first bill to be cleared by the house during the ongoing monsoon session of the Parliament.

Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 UPSC: 10 Important Features

1. The Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 seeks to protect the Antarctic environment and regulate activities in the region.  

2. The bill will apply to any person, vessel or aircraft that is a part of an Indian expedition to Antarctica. 

3. Under the bill’s provisions, the future Indian expeditions to Antarctica will require a permit from the centre’s committee on Antarctic Governance and Environmental Protection. 

4. Following activities will require permit from the committee-

  • An Indian expedition to enter or remain in Antarctica
  • An Individual entering or remaining in the Indian station in Antarctica,
  • An Indian registered vessel or aircraft entering or remaining in Antarctica.
  • An individual or vessel to drill, dredge or excavate for mineral resources or collect mineral samples 
  • Activities that may harm native species
  • Waste disposal by a person, vessel or aircraft in Antarctica region.

Central Committee on Antarctica region

  • The centre will establish the special committee for governance and environmental protection of Antarctica region, chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.  
  • The committee will comprise 10 members, nominated from various ministries and organisations and not below the rank of joint secretary.
  • It will also comprise two experts from Antarctic environment and geo-political fields, who will be nominated by the central government.
     
    Functions of the Committee-

-Granting permits for various activities

-Implementing and ensuring compliance of relevant international laws for protection of Antarctic environment

-Obtaining and reviewing relevant information provided by parties to the Treaty, Convention, and Protocol

-Negotiating fees/charges with other parties for activities in Antarctica

5. The Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 prohibits following activities in Antarctica –

-Nuclear explosion or disposal of radioactive wastes

-Introduction of non-sterile soil

-Discharge of plastic, waste, garbage or other substance into the sea that is harmful to the marine environment

Penalties

The Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 includes penalties for violation of its provisions such as following-

  • Imprisonment for 20 years that may extend to life imprisonment and a fine of at least Rs 50 crore for conducting a nuclear explosion in Antarctica.
  • Imprisonment up to 7 years and a fine between Rs 10-50 lakh for driilling for mineral resources and introducing non-native animals or plants in Antarctica without a permit.
  • The central government may notify Sessions Courts to be the Designated Court under the Bill and specify its territorial jurisdiction to try offences punishable under the Bill.

Indian Research Stations at Antarctica

India has set up three research stations at Antarctica –

Dakshin Gangotri- 1983-84: It is located at a distance of 2,500 kilometres from the South Pole.

Maitri- 1988: It is located in an ice-free, rocky area on the Schirmacher Oasis.

Bharati- 2015: It is located beside Larsmann Hill, between Thala Fjord & Quilty bay, about 3000 km east of Maitri.





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