Chemical Weapons Convention and CVC Act of India

The formal name of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), is Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. The countries which sign and ratify this convention are obliged for prohibition of use and production of chemical weapons, as well as the destruction of all chemical weapons.

As of November 2011, around 71% of the (declared) stockpile of chemical weapons has thus been destroyed. The convention also has provisions for systematic evaluation of chemical and military plants, as well as for investigations of allegations of use and production of chemical weapons based on intelligence of other state parties.

Members of CWC

  • As of August 2010, 188 states are party to the CWC. Of the eight states that are not, two have signed but not yet ratified the treaty (Burma and Israel) and six states have not signed the treaty (Angola, North Korea, Egypt, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria).

India and her Domestic Act

  • India signed this treaty in January 1993 and ratified it thereafter. It came into force in 1997.
  • Having ratified the Convention, India needed to make provisions for giving effect thereto and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. So, India enacted a Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000, which is applicable to citizens of India outside India and the associates, branches or subsidiaries, outside India of companies or bodies corporate, registered or incorporated in India.

India and Chemical Weapons

  • As part of her commitment towards CWC, India destroyed 1,044 tons of chemicals by 2009, which could be used in making weapons. This is a commendable effort by India.
  • The act provides for a National Authority on CWC, which has done meticulous efforts to follow various provisions of the CWC. NACWC has been established under the Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000 and works under the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India.
  • The NACWC was awarded the ISO 9001:2008, Certificate, thus becoming first among all the member nations of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to attain this distinction.

The Objectives & Implications of proposed amendments

  • The Chemical Weapons Convention Act does not allow any person to transfer or receive specified toxic chemicals from a person who is not a citizen of a State party. The Bill amends the provision by prohibiting transfer from a State which is not party to the convention
  • As per the amended act, no person shall transfer to, or receive from, a state which is not a party to the convention, any toxic chemical.
  • The erstwhile act allows the Centre to appoint officers of the National Authority set up by the government to implement the Convention to be enforcement officers. The amendment seeks to widen its scope and confer upon the Central government the power also to appoint “any of its officers” as enforcement officer.
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