The Indian Antarctic Bill- Features

The Indian government has introduced the Indian Antarctic Bill-2022, around 40 years after the country had first signed the Antarctic Treaty. This bill has been introduced to monitor and regulate activities at its research stations that are located in Antarctica.

The key features of this bill

  • This bill aims to regulate activities and visits to Antarctica as well as all potential disputes that can arise among those nations that are present on the continent.
  • The bill has also prescribed penal provisions for certain violations.
  • Under this Bill, the jurisdiction of Indian courts has been extended to Antarctica and it has been allowed to investigate and trial crimes that are committed on the continent.
  • Under this bill, an Indian expedition to Antarctica or conducting certain activities on the continent is prohibited without a permit from the committee that will be set up by the government. Also, the committee can cancel the permits.
  • As every country has an allotted quota of fishing in this region, this Bill has provided guidelines for commercial fishing in this region by India. However, strict guidelines have been placed in accordance with the related international law.
  • The Bill has enabled the Indian tour operators to conduct tourism in the region under strict regulations.
  • This bill provides for the constitution of an inspection team that will have the right to carry out inspections in Antarctica.
  • This bill has provided guidelines for the protection of the Antarctic environment.

Prohibitions under this bill

  • Under this bill, dredging, drilling, collection of mineral resources, and excavation have been prohibited in the region except for scientific research purposes that too with a permit.
  • This bill has also prohibited damaging the native plants of the region, operating helicopters and vessels that could disturb the habitat, firearms that can disturb the animals and birds, removing soil from the region, and engaging in any activity that can harm the habitat of the region.
  • Also, no animals or birds of this region can be killed, injured or captured.
  • No non-native birds, animals, microscopic organisms, and plants can be introduced to this region.
  • Special permit has to be taken to extract species for scientific research from this region.
  • An officer can also be appointed by the central government to carry out inspections in this region.

Applicability of this bill

This Bill will be applicable to Indians, corporations, foreign citizens, joint ventures, and firms that are functioning in India, and any aircraft or vessel that is either a part of an Indian expedition or Indian.

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