Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022:
The Lok Sabha deferred the consideration and passing of the Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022, due to protests by the Congress members outside of Parliament over the Enforcement Directorate’s summoning of their party president Sonia Gandhi for questioning.
- The Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha on April 1, 2022.
- The Bill seeks to 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.
- The provisions of the Bill will apply to any person, vessel or aircraft that is a part of an Indian expedition to Antarctica under a permit issued under the Bill.
- The central government will establish a Committee on Antarctic Governance and Environmental Protection.
- The Committee will be chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
- A permit by the Committee or written authorisation from another party to the Protocol (other than India) will be required for various activities.
- The Bill prohibits certain activities in Antarctica including: (i) nuclear explosion or disposal of radioactive wastes, (ii) introduction of non-sterile soil, and (iii) discharge of garbage, plastic or other substance into the sea which is harmful to the marine environment.