The Indian Antarctic Bill and its various provisions
The Union government introduced the Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022, that aims to lay down a set of rules to regulate a range of activities on territories in Antarctica where India has set up research stations. Following its first expedition to Antarctica in 1982, India has now established two standing research stations, Bharati and Maitri, at Antarctica
What does the Antarctic Bill envisage?
- Regular Visits-The Bill envisages regulating visits and activities to Antarctica as well as potential disputes that may arise among those present on the continent.
- Prohibition without a permit- If the Bill were to become law, private tours and expeditions to Antarctica would be prohibited without a permit or the written authorisation by a member country. A member country is one of the 54 signatories of the Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959 — India joined the Treaty System in 1983.
- Antarctic fund -The draft also directs the creation of a fund called the Antarctic fund that will be used for protecting the Antarctic environment.