GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

Lok Sabha 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. This was the first bill passed this session.

What

  1. The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 and India became a signatory in 1983.
  2. The main objective of the treaty was that Antarctica is not used for military activity or there is no other misuse, to ensure the demilitarisation of the area.
  3. The other objective was to prevent nations from indulging in mining activity or any other illegal activity.
  4. This is more or less no man’s land. No one should use that land for nuclear explosions. Basically its (treaty’s) objective was to ensure that those countries that have institutions there, restrict themselves to research or experiments related to climate and geography.
  5. When this bill is passed, a committee will be formed headed by the Earth sciences secretary and representatives from other ministries.
  6. The Bill seeks to extend the application of domestic laws to research stations set up by India in the Antarctic region.
  7. India has two active research stations in the Antarctic — Maitri and Bharti — where scientists are involved in research.
  8. It also seeks to constitute a fund for the welfare of Antarctic research work and protection of the environment of the icy continent.