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LS passes ‘Antarctica Bill 2022’ moved by Dr Jitendra

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STATE TIMES NEWS

NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022 moved by Minister of Earth Sciences Dr Jitendra Singh. The Bill aims at having India’s own national measures for protecting the Antarctic environment as also the dependent and associated ecosystem.
Speaking about the Bill, Union Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the main aim is to ensure de-militarization of the region along with getting it rid of mining or illegal activities. It also aims that there should not be any nuclear test / explosion in the region.
The bill is in pursuant to India’s accession to Antarctic Treaty, the Protocol on Environment Protection (Madrid Protocol) to the Antarctic Treaty and to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
Dr Jitendra pointed out that the Bill provides a harmonious policy and regulatory framework for India’s Antarctic activities through well-established legal mechanisms and will help in efficient and elective operations of Indian Antarctic Programme.
It will also facilitate India’s interest and pro-active involvement in the management of growing Antarctic tourism and sustainable development of fisheries resources in Antarctic waters. It will also help in increased international visibility, credibility of India in Polar governance leading to international collaboration and cooperation in scientific and logistics fields.
Dr Jitendra also elaborated that the continuing and growing presence of Indian scientists in Antarctica in the research stations with concurrent commitment to Antarctic studies and protection of fragile Antarctic ecosystem warrants adoption of domestic legislation on Antarctica consistent with its obligations as a member of Antarctic Treaty System.
The enforcement of such laws will confer Jurisdiction on the courts of India to deal with any dispute or crimes committed in parts of Antarctica. Legislation of such a kind will bind the citizens to the policies of the Antarctic treaty system. This will also be useful in building credibility and enhance the status of the Country globally.

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