What is Antarctic Treaty – Antarctic Bill? Ministry of earth Science introduces, Antarctic Treaty – Antarctic Bill 2022, in Lok Sabha.
What is the Question? In the following explanation of the Antarctic Treaty – Antarctic Bill 2022
The Antarctic Treaty 1961 has been able to successfully respond to a range of challenges emerging, however individual nations have to contribute their bit to the successful preservation of the Antarctic region. Discuss. Also, highlight Indian contribution to the Antarctic region.
Can India do such a thing?
27 countries are a part of the Antarctica treaty including Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, New Zeland, Norway, Peru, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of Amerika, Uruguay and Venezuela already have domestic legislation on Antarctica. India is now following suit after 40 years of the Antarctica treaty.
Antarctica Treaty- (History of the Antarctic treaty for Antarctic Treaty – Antarctic Bill 2022)
Antarctic Treaty The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by 12 countries – Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, French Republic, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Union of South Africa, USSR, the UK of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland, and the US of America, and came into force in 1961.
The objectives of the treaty are to demilitarize Antarctica and establish it as a zone used for peaceful research activities and set aside any disputes regarding territorial sovereignty, thereby ensuring international cooperation.
Currently, 54 nations are signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, but only 29 nations have a right to vote at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings – this includes India. India signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1983 and received consultative status the same year.
Note: Antarctica Treaty covers the area south of 60 ° S latitude.
Later a convention & a protocol also came into existence for the preservation of Antarctica. The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was set up in 1980 for the protection and preservation of the Antarctic environment and, in particular, for the preservation and conservation of marine living resources in Antarctica.
The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1991 and came into force in 1998. It designates Antarctica as a ” natural reserve, devoted to peace and science.
Is a law needed? Is Antarctic Treaty – Antarctic Bill 2022 needed or not?
According to the government, it expects activity in Antarctica to increase in the coming years, making the enforcement of a domestic set of protocols essential. , domestic legislation will further provide more validity to the Antarctic Treaty, and subsequent protocols, of which India is a signatory.
Indian Antarctic Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional program under the control of the National Center for Polar and Ocean Research Goa which was initiated in 1981. Till now 40 expeditions to the Antarctic have been completed.
The Draft Bill
THE INDIAN ANTARCTIC BILL, 2022, ARRANGEMENT OF CLAUSES CHAPTER I PRELIMINARY
1. Short title and commencement.
CHAPTER II – REQUIREMENTS AS TO
4. Permit for Indian expedition to Antarctica. 5. Permit for Indian station in Antarctica.
6. Permit for vessels and aircraft entering Antarctica.
7. Permit for mineral resource activities.
8. Permit for certain activities in Antarctica.
9. Permit for introducing non-native animals and plants into Antarctica.
10. Permit for introducing microscopic organisms.
11. Permit to enter protected areas.
12. Permit for waste disposal.
13. Permit for discharge into the sea.
14. Permit for the removal of the biological specimen or any other sample from Antarctica.
15. Certain provisions are not to apply during emergencies.
16. Special permit for commercial fishing in Antarctica.
Provisions of the bill.
The most significant part of the Bill is extending the jurisdiction of Indian courts to Antarctica, for crimes on the Continent by Indian citizens, or foreign citizens who are a part of Indian expeditions. So far there was no recourse for crimes committed during an expedition, including crimes against the environment. The Bill also introduces an elaborate permit system for any expedition or individual who wishes to visit the continent.
Who will give the permit? (Permit For the Draft Bill of Antarctic Treaty – Antarctic Bill 2022.)
CHAPTER IV 30 MITTEE ON ANTARCTIC GOVERNANCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
( 1 ) The Central Government shall, by notification, establish a Committee to be called the Committee on Antarctic Governance and Environmental Protection consisting of the following members, namely :
( a ) Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Chairperson, ex officio,
( b ) ten members not below the rank of Joint Secretary, ex officio, to be nominated by the Central Government, from any of the Ministries or Departments or organizations of the Central Government dealing with
( i ) Defense ;
( ) External Affairs
( iv ) Fisheries :
( v ) Legal Affairs
( vi ) Science and Technology :
( vii ) Shipping. 10
(viii) Tourism :
( ix ) Environment ( Communication
( xi ) Space :
( xi ) National Center for Polar and Ocean Research; and 15
( xi ) National Security Council Secretariat :
( c ) two experts to be nominated by the Central Government from the fields of-
( i ) Antarctic environment, and (ii ) Geopolitical.
What are the prohibitions?
• The Bill prohibits drilling, dredging, excavation, or collection of mineral resources or even doing anything to identify where such mineral deposits occur except for scientific research with a granted permit.
The Bill prohibits Damaging native plants, flying or landing helicopters or operating vessels that could disturb birds and seals, using firearms that could disturb the birds and animals, removing soil or any biological material native to Antarctica, engage in any activity that could adversely change the habitat of birds and animals, kill, injure or capture any bird or animal.
The introduction of animals, birds, plants, or microscopic organisms that are not native to Antarctica is also prohibited.
What are the penalties? Penalties under the Antarctic Treaty – Antarctic Bill 2022.
The draft Bill proposes the setting up of a separate designated court to try crimes committed in Antarctica. The Bill further sets higher penal provisions – the lowest penalty comprising imprisonment between one-two year and a penalty of Rs 10-50 lakh. Extraction of any species native to Antarctica, or introduction of an exotic species to the continent can draw imprisonment of seven years and a fine of Rs 50 lakh.
For dumping of nuclear waste or a nuclear explosion, the imprisonment can range between 20 years to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50 crore.