The pristine world of Antarctica is going through rapid changes. Climate change and global warming are leading to the melting of glaciers in the frigid world. These changes have the potential to have far-reaching climate ramifications across the world.
As countries look to meet the Paris agreement goals, India is upping its game to fight climate change. A new bill, passed last week in Lok Sabha, aims to pave the way for India to devise measures to protect the fragile ecosystem of Antarctica.
The Lok Sabha last week cleared the Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 that looks to create national measures for protecting the Antarctic environment, which is going through rapid changes. The bill aims to de-militarise the region along with getting rid of mining and other illegal activities.
Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of Earth Sciences, has said that India will aim to ensure that there should not be any nuclear tests or explosions in the region.
Ripples in the surface of Denman Glacier in East Antarctica that throw shadows against the ice. (Photo: AFP)
WHAT IS INDIAN ANTARCTIC BILL 2022?
The Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 is a big step taken by the Narendra Modi-led government under the Protocol on Environment Protection (Madrid Protocol) to the Antarctic Treaty and the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. It aims to create a harmonious policy and regulatory framework for India’s activities in the Antarctic.
The Antarctic Treaty was first signed by 12 countries in 1959 in Washington and since then 42 other countries have joined it. Meanwhile, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources was signed at Canberra in 1980 and India ratified it in 1985.
Also Read | Indian expedition arrives at Maitri station
“It will help in the efficient and effective operations of the Indian Antarctic Program and facilitate India’s interest and pro-active involvement in the management of growing Antarctic tourism and sustainable development of fisheries resources in Antarctic waters,” the Ministry of Science & Technology said.
India’s Antarctic program began in 1981. (File Pic)
Speaking in Lok Sabha, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the enforcement of laws will confer jurisdiction on the courts of India to deal with any dispute or crimes committed in parts of Antarctica. The legislation will bind the citizens to the policies of the Antarctic Treaty. This will also be useful in building credibility and enhancing the status of the country globally.
PLANS TO SET UP INDIAN ANTARCTIC AUTHORITY
The bill also proposes setting up an Indian Antarctic Authority (IAA) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, an apex decision-making body that will facilitate programs and activities permitted under the bill and provide a stable, transparent and accountable process for the sponsorship and supervision of Antarctic research and expeditions.
“It will ensure the protection and preservation of the Antarctic environment, and shall ensure compliance by Indian citizens engaged in the Antarctic programs and activities with relevant rules and internationally agreed standards,” the Centre said in a statement. The body will be headed by the Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, and the official members will come from the concerned ministries.
India has been active in the region for four decades. (File Pic)
INDIA’S ANTARCTIC PROGRAM
India has been active in the region for four decades with three research stations — Dakshin Gangotri, Maitri, and Bharati. Maitri and Bharati are currently operational and boosting scientific information to be used by the country.
India’s Antarctic program, which began in 1981, is managed by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) based in Goa. The country in January this year launched the 40th scientific expedition to Antarctica, which included 43 members.
The team replaced the 39th expedition that had mounted 27 scientific projects in the region that included focusing on climate process and its linkages with climate change, crustal evolution, environmental processes and conservation, the ecosystem of terrestrial and near-shore regions, observational research, and polar technology.
— ENDS —
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is the cheaper, easier way to send money abroad. It helps people move money quickly and easily between bank accounts in different countries. Convert 60+ currencies with ridiculously low fees - on average 7x cheaper than a bank. No hidden fees, no markup on the exchange rate, ever.
How to access the offer?
1- Click here
2- Select “Register''
3- Enter your email address, create a password, and select your country of residence
4- Fill out the required personal information, and the free first transfer offer will be applied automatically.
Benefits of the Multi-Currency Account:
- Free to create online
- Hold 50+ currencies
- Get multiple local bank details in one account (including EU, UK, US)
- Convert currency at the real exchange rate, even on weekends
- Spend whilst travelling on the Wise debit card without high conversion fees
Wise International Transfers:
- $1.5 billion saved by customers every year
- Send money to over 60 target currencies
- Lower fees for larger transfers
- No hidden fees. No bad exchange rates. No surprises.
- Send your money with a bank transfer, or a debit or credit card