How is the Antarctic relevant to India? Why should the Indian government draft a dedicated legislation termed The Indian Antarctic Bill 2022? what are the features of the bill? Read further to know more.
The Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha on April 1, 2022.
The Bill seeks to give effect to the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
Key Features Of The Indian Antarctic Bill
Applicability: The provisions of the bill will be applicable to any person, vessel, or aircraft that is part of India’s Antarctic expedition. A permit will be issued to such entities.
Important areas comprising Antarctica include:
- The continent of Antarctica, including its ice shelves, and all areas of the continental shelf adjacent to it.
- All islands (including their ice shelves), seas, and air space south of 60°S latitude.
Central Committee: The central government will constitute a committee on Antarctic Governance and environmental protection. It will be chaired by the secretary of the ministry of Earth Sciences.
The committee will comprise of:
- 10 members, not below the rank of joint secretary-nominated from various Ministries and organizations such as defense, external affairs, National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, and National Security Council Secretariat.
- Two experts from the Antarctic environment and geo-political fields, nominated by the central government.
The important functions of the Committee include:
- Granting permits for various activities.
- Implementing and ensuring compliance with relevant international laws for the protection of the 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.
Important activities upon which the committee can grant authorization includes:
- An Indian expedition to enter or remain in Antarctica.
- A person to enter or remain in an Indian station in Antarctica.
- A vessel or aircraft registered in India to enter or remain in Antarctica.
- A person or vessel to drill, dredge or excavate for mineral resources, or collect samples of mineral resources.
- Activities that may harm native species.
- Waste disposal by a person, vessel, or aircraft in Antarctica.
Prohibited Activities: The antarctic bill 2022 prohibits certain activities including
- Introduction of non-sterile soil.
- discharge of garbage, plastic, or other substance into the sea which is harmful to the marine environment.
- nuclear explosion or disposal of radioactive wastes.
Need For the Antarctic Bill
- India’s increasing activities in the Antarctic- India’s research stations include Maitri, Bharati, etc.
- Sovereign rules and regulations-lack of domestic legislation have forced India to be circumscribed by International Law.
- Enforcement of Antarctic treaty-India is a signatory to the Antarctic treaty which makes it mandatory for the member countries to have provisions to check unlawful activities at the research station.
- Extending jurisdiction of Indian courts-currently, there is no recourse for crimes committed during any Indian expedition, including crimes against the environment. therefore, it has become important to extend the jurisdiction of Indian courts for such crimes.
Importance of Antarctic
- Natural Laboratory: The Antarctic helps us understand global climate change. Antarctica’s thick ice sheet tells us what our planet’s climate has been like almost a million years ago.
- Biodiversity-A variety of marine biodiversity including whales, Dolphins, and penguins are found here.
- Vital for survival-The antarctic ice deflects some of the sun’s rays away from the Earth, keeping the temperatures liveable.
- Ocean food chain-The nutrient-rich waters encourage blooms of tiny plankton, the basis of the ocean food chain.
The Antarctic is significant not only to India alone but to the world as a whole. Cooperation at the level of various stakeholders at national and international levels is necessary for its conservation. Initiatives like domestic legislation (Antarctic bill 2022) are a step in the right direction.
- “The Antarctic region is significant not only to India but to the world as a whole”.Examine the statement in the light of the recently passed Indian Antarctic bill 2022. (150 words,10 marks)
How to address the question?
The question begins with a statement focusing on the importance of the Antarctic region. It also connects with a recent event involving the passage of legislation. The question can be addressed as follows:
Begin with a thesis statement that connects the importance of the Antarctic and the recently passed legislation
eg:- The antarctic acts as the world’s laboratory and contributes towards scientific explorations aiding humanity. It is of high importance not only to India but to the world as a whole. The recently tabled Indian antarctic bill is of high priority in this regard.
The body of the answer has to legitimize the thesis mentioned in the introduction. In this question, for the above-mentioned thesis statement, there are certain mandatory headings that have to be included to meet the demand of the question.
The following headings may be included
- Significance of the Antarctic to the world
- Indian Antarctic expeditions and its significance
- importance of the Indian Antarctic bill
Conclude by talking about any further initiatives that may be adopted to conserve the ecosystem
Post your answers in the comment section to have a peer review!!
Article written by : Vivek Rajasekharan
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