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May 1, 2024

India Plans Major Overhaul of Explosives Regulation with Draft Explosives Bill 2024

India is gearing up for a significant reform in its explosives regulation with the introduction of the draft Explosives Bill, 2024, which aims to replace the archaic Explosives Act of 1884. The proposed bill, open for public consultation, is set to revamp licensing procedures, enhance safety standards, and impose stricter penalties for violations.

As reported by The Economic Times (ET), the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is spearheading the initiative to modernize explosives regulation in the country. The draft bill proposes raising fines for breaches of regulations and streamlining licensing procedures to improve efficiency.

Explosives covered under the proposed legislation include gunpowder, nitroglycerin, nitroglycol, dinitrotoluene, and picric acid. Under the proposed Explosives Bill 2024, the Union government will designate the authority responsible for licensing and regulatory functions. Currently, the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) operates under DPIIT and oversees licensing for the manufacture, possession, use, sale, import, and export of explosive materials.

The draft bill introduces provisions to specify the quantity of explosives permitted for various activities in the license, including manufacturing, possession, sale, transportation, import, or export, for a specified period.

In terms of penalties, the proposed legislation suggests stringent measures. Offenders engaged in unauthorized manufacturing, importing, or exporting of explosives may face imprisonment for up to three years, a fine of Rs 1,00,000, or both. Similarly, possession, use, sale, or transportation of explosives in violation of regulations could lead to imprisonment for up to two years, a fine of Rs 50,000, or both.

The current Explosives Act of 1884, enacted during the British colonial era, has seen several amendments over the years to accommodate technological advancements and changing safety standards. It empowers authorities to conduct inspections of premises storing or using explosives to ensure compliance with safety regulations and outlines penalties for violations, including fines and imprisonment.

The Act applies to a range of explosives, including gunpowder, dynamite, and nitroglycerin, setting forth safety standards and procedures for handling, transportation, and storage to mitigate the risk of accidents.

Over time, amendments to the Explosives Act have aimed at addressing emerging challenges and technological advancements, with a focus on enhancing safety standards, improving regulatory mechanisms, and updating definitions to encompass new types of explosives.

The proposed Explosives Bill 2024 marks a significant step towards modernizing India’s explosives regulation to align with contemporary safety standards and enforcement practices. The move is expected to enhance safety in handling explosives while ensuring stricter compliance with regulatory requirements.

 

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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