SYLLABUS SECTION: GS II (POLITY AND GOVERNANCE)
WHY IN NEWS:
Recently, Lok Sabha has passed the Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022,
Which seeks to extend the application of domestic laws to research stations set up by India in the Antarctic region.
- The bill aims at promoting Antarctica as a natural reserve that is devotes to science and peace,
- And to ensure that Antarctica does not become the scene of international discord.
BRIEF ABOUT THE BILL:
- The Antarctic Treaty was signs in 1959 and India became a signatory in 1983.
- The main objective of the treaty was that Antarctica is not use for military activity or there is no other misuse,
- To ensure the demilitarization of the area.
- The other objective was to prevent nations from indulging in mining activity or any other illegal activity
- Treaty’s objective was to ensure that those countries that have institutions there,
- They restrict themselves to research or experiments relates to climate and geography
Provisions of the Bill:
- It will apply to any person, foreigners, corporations, firms, vessels,
- Or aircraft that is a part of an Indian expedition to Antarctica.
- After the passage of the bill, Indian laws will be applicable in the area occupied by Indian institutions and Indian personnel living in that continent
- The Bill seeks to extend the application of domestic laws to research stations set up by India in the Antarctic region. India has two active research stations in the Antarctic — Maitri and Bharti — where scientists are involved in research.
- The bill proposes to prohibit Indian expedition to Antarctica without a permit or written authorization of another party to the Antarctic Treaty, provide for inspection by an officer appointed by the government and for penalty for contravention of certain provisions of the legislation.
- It also seeks to constitute a fund for the welfare of Antarctic research work and protection of the environment of the icy continent.
Conducting a nuclear explosion in Antarctica will be punishable with an imprisonment of 20 years which may extend to life imprisonment and a fine of at least Rs 50 crore.
- Drilling for mineral resources or introducing non-native animals or plants in Antarctica without a permit will be punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 50 lakh.
- The central government may notify one or more Sessions Courts to be the Designated Court under the Bill and specify its territorial jurisdiction to try offences punishable under the Bill.
Read more: UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS
SOURCE: BUSINESS STANDARD