The bill was recently passed in Lok Sabha.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, passed in 2005, only banned the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction.
The amendment bill is aimed at widening its ambit.
Need for the Amendment:
To focus on the financial bit of activities supporting WMDs. There was an urgent need to have provision to ban financing for Weapons of Mass Destruction. The existing legislation was silent on this aspect.
To provide more teeth to government to act against terror funding. The present bill empowers theGovernment to freeze, seize or attach funds or other financial assets or economic resources for preventing such financing.
Highlights of the Bill:
Prohibition on financing certain activities: The Bill bars persons from financing any prohibited activity related to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
It gives more powers to the Central Government: To prevent persons from financing such activities, the central government may freeze, seize or attach their funds, financial assets, or economic resources.
It may also prohibit persons from making finances or related services available for the benefit of other persons in relation to any activity which is prohibited.
What are weapons of mass destruction?
These are weapons with the capacity to inflict death and destruction on such a massive scale and so indiscriminately that its very presence in the hands of a hostile power can be considered a grievous threat.
India’s 2005 WMD Act defines Weapons of mass destruction as biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons.
In the USA, WMD includes a nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological, or other device that is intended to harm a large number of people.