Indian Antarctic Bill passed in Rajya Sabha before adjournment

Indian Antarctic Bill passed in Rajya Sabha before adjournment

Indian Antarctic Bill: The Rajya Sabha on has passed the Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 amid sloganeering by the opposition MPs which forced the adjournment of the House.

Highlights:

  • The Indian Antarctic Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh.
  • The bill was passed with a voice vote after a brief discussion amid protests by the opposition members.

Key Points about the Bill:

  • The main purpose of this bill is to protect the South Pole.
  • The bill seeks to provide national measures to protect the Antarctic environment and associated ecosystems.
  • It proposes to prohibit Indian expedition to Antarctica without a permit or written authorisation of another party to the Antarctic Treaty.
  • It provides for inspection by an officer appointed by the government and for a penalty for contravention of certain provisions of the legislation.
  • The Bill will also give effect to the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.

What will happen to this bill?

  • The Antarctic region is currently governed by international law, but after this bill is passed into law, those connected to the Indian territory and its mission will be subject to Indian law, and will be brought before Indian courts.
  • If any wrongs, crimes, irregularities are committed by people in or for the territory of the Indian Mission will be dealt with under Indian laws.

Importance of Antarctica:

  • Antarctica is the southernmost continent of the earth.
  • Although snow is always frozen at this place, it is very important for humans.
  • The global climate is directly impacted by the changes occurring here.
  • In addition to this, there have still been a lot of discoveries about this continent.
  • In such a situation, many countries have established their research centers here.

India also has two active research centers there –

  1. Maitri in Shirmakar Hills (opened in 1989) and
  2. Bharti in Larsman Hills (opened in 2012).

Who introduced the Indian Antarctic bill 2022 in Rajya Sabha?
A) Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh
B) Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
C) Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
D) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh