Draft Indian Antarctic Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

Draft Indian Antarctic Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

News: The government has introduced the ‘Antarctic Bill’ in the Lok Sabha, that envisages regulating visits and activities to Antarctica as well potential disputes which may arise among those present on the continent.

About the Bill:
• Regulate Visit – The Bill provides for strict guidelines and system of permits, which will be issued by a government appointed committee, without which any expedition or individual will not be allowed to enter Antartica.
• Protect Mineral Resources – It prohibits drilling, dredging, excavation or collection of mineral resources. Only exception is for scientific research with a permit.
• Prohibition on introducing Birds not native to Antartica
• Protecting native plants – Strict prohibition on damaging native plants, flying or landing helicopters or operating vessels that could disturb birds and seals, using firearms that could disturb birds and animals, remove soil or any biological material native to Antartica.

Need for the Bill:
• As India is a signatory to the Antarctic Treaty since 1983 it made it essential for us to make a set of laws which covers portions of the continent where India has had its research bases.
• We are also signatory to treaties such as Convention on Conservation of Antartic Marine Living Resources and the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
• These laws will help India’s courts deal with disputes committed in part of Antartica, thus help build our credibility.

India’s research stations at the Poles:
• Maitri (1989) and Bharati (2012) – Both in Antartica
• Himadri in Svalbard, above the Arctic circle.
• India has so far conducted 40 Scientific expeditions to Antartica 

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