Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics Bill, 2022

In Context

  • Recently, the draft Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics (Preservation and Maintenance) Bill was notified by the Ministry of Mines.

Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics

  • According to the Ministry of Mines, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) declares geo-heritage sites/national geological monuments for protection and maintenance.
    • The GSI or the respective state governments take necessary measures to protect these sites.
    • The 32 geo-heritage sites spread across 13 states in India.
  • GSI:
    • Coming under the Ministry of Mines, the GSI was established in 1851 to investigate and assess coal and other mineral resources of the country through regional-level exploration.

Issues with preservation and threats

  • Sites in India:
    • According to the draft, the fossil wealth of dinosaur remains of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, marine fossils of Kutch and Spiti, and oldest life forms viz. stromatolites of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are of great geo heritage and geo-tourism value. 
    • The world’s oldest metallurgical records of gold, lead and zinc in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are still preserved but are under great threat.
  • Absence of legislation:
    • The Bill states that despite identifying these sites, there are concerns over their preservation. 
    • Due to the absence of any legislation in the country for the protection, preservation and maintenance of the geo-heritage sites, these are increasingly threatened with destruction not only by the natural causes of decay but also by population pressure and changing social and economic conditions which are aggravating the situation.

Draft bill highlights

  • Aim:
    • The Bill is aimed at providing for the declaration, preservation, protection and maintenance of geo-heritage sites and geo-relics of national importance, for geological studies, education, research and awareness purposes.
  • Definitions:
    • The draft bill defines Geoheritage sites as:
      • Sites containing geo-relics and phenomena, stratigraphic type sections, geological structures and geomorphic landforms including caves, natural rock-sculptures of national and international interest; and includes such portion of land adjoining the site, that may be required for their conservation or to access to such sites.
    • Geo-relic is defined as:
      • Any relic or material of geological significance or interest like sediments, rocks, minerals, meteorites or fossils. 
      • The GSI will have the power to acquire geo-relics “for its preservation and maintenance”.
  • Role of Central Government:
    • The bill would authorise the Central Government to declare a geoheritage site to be of national importance. 
    • This would be under the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (RFCTLARR Act)
  • Raising objections:
    • Through a public notification in the Official Gazette, the government would spell out what areas were to be acquired by it, and objections to this can be raised within two months.
  • Compensation to the land owners:
    • Provision is made for compensation to the owner or occupier of land who incurs loss or damage from the land due to the exercise of any power under this Act. 
    • The market value of any property will be ascertained in accordance with the principles set out in the RFCTLARR Act.
  • Prohibitions:
    • The Bill imposes a prohibition on construction, reconstruction, repair or renovation of any building within the geo-heritage site area or utilisation of such area in any other manner, except for construction for preservation and maintenance of the geo-heritage site or any public work essential to the public.
  • Penalties:
    • Penalties for destruction, removal, defacement or contravention of any direction issued by the Director General, GSI in the geo-heritage site are mentioned. 
    • There is a penalty of imprisonment which may extend to six months or a fine which may extend to Rs.5 lakh or both
    • In the case of a continuing contravention, an additional fine of up to Rs.50,000 for every day of continuing contravention may be imposed.

Concerns & challenges

  • Issues of distribution of power:
    • The need for the preservation of such sites, and particular laws for them, has been felt for a long. 
    • But as a Science article points out, there are concerns over the distribution of power as mentioned in the Bill.
  • Issues with local communities:
    • GSI has the authority to acquire any material of geological significance, including sediments, rocks, minerals, meteorites, and fossils, as well as sites of geological importance. 
    • The issue of land acquisition for the purpose of safeguarding these sites could also lead to issues with local communities.
  • Need of more inclusive body:
    • Critics are demanding a more inclusive body, on the lines of a National Geoheritage Authority, that can, more democratically, decide on declaring sites as being of ‘geohistorical’ importance and how best to preserve artefacts and finds.

Way ahead

  • Given the premium for land and India’s economic needs, there will be conflict over questions of preservation and livelihood, but any legislation must endeavour to balance these forces and enable consensus.

Source: IE

India’s Urban Planning

In Context

  • Recently, urban planners highlighted the need for a multi-generational process for India’s urban journey.


  • The need for urban planning has come in the aftermath of the recent Joshimath incident in which an aquifer was hit by a tunnel boring machine in Joshimath resulting in the loss of nearly 800 litres of water per second. 
  • Land subsidence incidents in hilly urban India are becoming increasingly common and an estimated 12.6% of India’s land area is prone to landslides and poor Urban policies are making the scenario even worse.
  • Besides this, there is also a burning issue of urban flooding which requires immediate multiple measures of flood-proofing of Indian cities.
  • Government should focus on acquiring credible data for enhancing urban resilience with regard to land subsidence while landslide risk needs to be mapped at the granular level.
  • There is also a need to incorporate environmental planning and enhance natural open spaces and for that Urban authorities in India should assess and enhance urban infrastructure for long-term resilience.

Importance of Urban Planning for India

  • Managing urban growth: With India being one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, Urban planning will help by ensuring that cities have the necessary infrastructure and services to accommodate their growing populations.
  • Improving quality of life: Urban planning can ensure access to basic services such as water, sanitation, and healthcare besides creating more livable and walkable neighborhoods that are safer and more pleasant to live in.
  • Promoting economic growth: Cities are important drivers of economic growth, and urban planning can help to promote this growth through measures such as zoning regulations, transportation infrastructure, and the development of business districts.
  • Enhancing environmental sustainability: Urban planning can ensure that cities are designed in a way that minimizes their impact on the environment through measures such as green spaces, energy-efficient buildings, and sustainable transportation options.

Challenges of urban planning in India

  • Rapid urbanization: India is experiencing a rapid increase in population and urbanization, which puts immense pressure on its cities to accommodate the needs of its citizens.
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure: Many Indian cities lack basic infrastructure, such as reliable water and sanitation systems, adequate housing, and public transportation, which is a major obstacle in the effective planning and management of urban areas.
  • Land use planning: In many cases, land use planning in India’s cities is not carried out in a well-informed and participatory manner, leading to haphazard and unplanned growth, inadequate provision of open spaces, and the encroachment on green areas and floodplains.
  • Climate change and natural disasters: Indian cities are also vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and earthquakes, which are often exacerbated by climate change, and require careful urban planning and risk mitigation measures.
  • Political interference and corruption: Political interference and corruption in decision-making can lead to the neglect of critical issues such as environmental protection, public safety, and social welfare, and result in the skewed allocation of resources and unfair distribution of benefits.
  • Lack of public participation: Public participation is crucial to the success of urban planning, but in India, there is a lack of effective mechanisms to engage with citizens in decision-making processes, which results in alienation and mistrust among the people.
Important Government schemes on Urban PlanningSmart Cities Mission: It was launched in 2015 with the objective to develop 100 smart cities in the country, which will have an advanced infrastructure and offer a high quality of life to its residents.Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT): It was launched in 2015 which focuses on improving basic urban infrastructure in cities and towns, such as water supply, sewerage, and transportation.Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY): This scheme was launched in 2015 with the aim of providing affordable housing to the urban poor. It has two components: PMAY-Urban for urban areas and PMAY-Gramin for rural areas.Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: This is a national cleanliness campaign launched in 2014, which aims to improve sanitation and cleanliness in urban areas.Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY): It was launched in 2015 with focus on developing heritage cities and preserving their cultural and historical significance.National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM): This scheme was launched in 2013 and aims to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to the urban poor, with a focus on skill development and entrepreneurship.Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM): This was a flagship scheme of the government launched in 2005, which aimed to improve urban infrastructure and governance in cities.

Way ahead

  • Overall, urban planning is critical to the development of sustainable, livable, and prosperous cities in India. 
  • It can help to ensure that the benefits of urbanization are shared by all residents and that cities are able to grow and thrive in a way that is equitable and sustainable.

Source: DTE

Global Sea-level Rise and Implications

In News

  • Recently, the report “Global Sea-level Rise and Implications” was released by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

Report highlights

  • Threats of Sea level rise:
    • India, China, Bangladesh and the Netherlands face the highest threat of sea-level rise globally.
    • The report stated that several big cities in all continents are threatened by the rise in sea level.
      • These include Shanghai, Dhaka, Bangkok, Jakarta, Mumbai, Maputo, Lagos, Cairo, London, Copenhagen, New York, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires and Santiago.
  • Stimulating factors:
    • If trends in urbanisation in exposed areas continue, this will exacerbate the impacts, with more challenges where energy, water and other services are constrained,” it reported. 
    • The impacts of average sea-level rise are boosted by storm surges and tidal variations, as was the situation during the landfall of hurricane Sandy in New York and Cyclone Idai in Mozambique.
  • Melting of ice mass in Antarctica:
    • According to future estimates based on climate models and ocean-atmosphere physics, the WMO reported that the speed of melting of the largest global ice mass in Antarctica is uncertain.

Impact of Sea level rise

  • All round impact:
    • Sea level rise is a major economic, social and humanitarian challenge. 
    • It threatens coastal farmlands and water reserves and resilience of infrastructures as well as human lives and livelihoods, the report noted. 
  • Submergence:
    • While sea-level rise is not globally uniform and varies regionally, continued and accelerating sea-level rise will encroach on coastal settlements and infrastructure and commit low-lying coastal ecosystems to submergence and loss, according to the report
  • Food insecurity:
    • Climate change will increasingly put pressure on food production and access, especially in vulnerable regions, undermining food security and nutrition and increases in frequency, intensity and severity of droughts, floods and heatwaves, and continued sea level rise will increase risks to food security in vulnerable regions.

Three Primary Factors For Sea Level Rise

  • The change in sea levels is linked to three primary factors, all induced by ongoing global climate change:
  • Thermal expansion: 
    • When water heats up, it expands. About half of the sea-level rise over the past 25 years is attributable to warmer oceans simply occupying more space.
  • Melting glaciers: 
    • Large ice formations such as mountain glaciers naturally melt a bit each summer. 
    • In the winter, snows, primarily from evaporated sea water, are generally sufficient to balance out the melting. 
    • Recently, though, persistently higher temperatures caused by global warming have led to greater than average summer melting as well as diminished snowfall due to later winters and earlier springs.
      • That creates an imbalance between runoff and ocean evaporation, causing sea levels to rise.
  • Loss of Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets: 
    • As with mountain glaciers, increased heat is causing the massive ice sheets that cover Greenland and Antarctica to melt more quickly. 
    • Scientists also believe that meltwater from above and seawater from below is seeping beneath Greenland’s ice sheets, effectively lubricating ice streams and causing them to move more quickly into the sea. 
    • While melting in West Antarctica has drawn considerable focus from scientists, especially with the 2017 break in the Larsen C ice shelf, glaciers in East Antarctica are also showing signs of destabilizing.

Suggestions & way ahead

  • Urban systems are critical, interconnected sites for enabling climate-resilient development, especially at the coast. 
  • Coastal cities and settlements play a key role in moving toward higher climate resilient development given firstly, almost 11% of the global population of 896 million people lived within the Low Elevation Coastal Zone in 2020, potentially increasing to beyond 1 billion people by 2050.
    • These people, and associated development and coastal ecosystems, face escalating climate compounded risks, including sea level rise.
  • The Coastal cities can implement the following measures to address sea level rise
    • Using Beaches As Barriers 
    • Building Seawalls 
    • Raising Roads 
    • Building Stormwater Pumps 
    • Upgrading Sewage Systems 
    • Creating Natural Infrastructure
    • Slowing Land Sinkage
  • Global Plans to reduce the impacts of Sea Level rise:
    • In Jakarta, a $40 billion project will aim to protect the city with an 80-foot-high seawall. 
    • Rotterdam, home to the global Center on Adaptation, has offered a model to other cities seeking to combat flooding and land loss. The Dutch city has built barriers, drainage, and innovative architectural features such as Water Square with temporary ponds.

Source: TH

Vacant Deputy Speaker Post

In News

  • Recently, the Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre and five states- Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand over the failure to elect a Deputy Speaker.


  • A Bench sought responses on a PIL that contends that not electing a Deputy Speaker to the 17th (present) Lok Sabha, is “against the letter and spirit of the Constitution ”.
    • The PIL said that as per Article 93 and Article 178 of the Constitution, it was mandatory for state legislatures to conduct elections for the post of Deputy speaker.
  • The position of the Union government on the current vacancy in the post of Deputy Speaker.
    • The Treasury benches have maintained there is no “immediate requirement” for a Deputy Speaker as “bills are being passed and discussions are being held” as normal in the House.

Institution of Deputy Speaker

  • Historical Background:
    • The posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker originated in India in 1921 under the provisions of the Government of India Act of 1919 (Montague-Chelmsford Reforms).
    • Sachidanand Sinha was appointed by the Governor-General of India as the first Deputy Speaker of the central legislative assembly in  1921.
Constitutional Provision regarding Office of Deputy SpeakerArticle 93 of the Constitution says that the House of the People (Lok Sabha) shall choose two members of the House to be respectively Speaker and Deputy Speaker.Article 178 contains the corresponding position for Speaker and Deputy Speaker for the State Legislative Assembly
  • General practice of electing the Deputy Speaker:
    • In general, the practice in both Lok Sabha and the state Assemblies has been to elect the Speaker during the first session of the new House — usually on the third day after the oath-taking and affirmations over the first two days.
    • The election of the Deputy Speaker usually takes place in the second session and is generally not delayed further in the absence of genuine and unavoidable constraints.
    • Rule 8 of The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha says the election of Deputy Speaker “shall be held on such date as the Speaker may fix”.
    • The Deputy Speaker is elected once a motion proposing his name is carried in the House.
  • Term of Office of Deputy Speaker:
    • Like the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker remains in the office usually during the life of the Lok Sabha
    • However, he may vacate his office earlier in any of the following three cases –
      • if he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha;
      • if he resigns by writing to the Speaker; and
      • if he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the then members of the Lok Sabha. Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice.
  • Powers of Deputy Speaker:
    • The Deputy Speaker performs the duties of the Speaker’s office when it is vacant.
    • He also presides over the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, in case the Speaker is absent from such a sitting.
    • He can speak in the House, participate in its proceedings and vote on any question before the House.
    • Key Facts about role of the Deputy Speaker:
      • Whenever the Deputy speaker is appointed as a member of a parliamentary committee, he automatically becomes its chairman.
      • The Deputy Speaker is not subordinate to the Speaker. He is directly responsible to the House.
      • When the Speaker presides over the House, the Deputy Speaker is like any other ordinary member of the House.
  • Can the courts intervene in cases of a delay in electing the Deputy Speaker?
    • Article 122(1) says: “The validity of any proceedings in Parliament shall not be called in question on the ground of any alleged irregularity of procedure.”
    • However, the courts do have jurisdiction to at least inquire into why there has been no election to the post of Deputy Speaker since the Constitution does envisage an election “as soon as may be”.

Aubrite Meteorite

In News

  • The Diyodar Meteorite that crashed in Gujarat in 2022 is a rare aubrite, seen in India just once before in 1852.


  • Aubrites are a type of meteorite that are coarse-grained igneous rocks formed in poor-oxygen conditions, and thus contain a variety of exotic minerals that are not found on Earth.
    •  For example, the mineral heideite was first described in the Basti meteorite.
  • They are named after the Aubres meteorite, which fell in France in 1836.
  • Around 90% of the Diyodar meteorite was composed of orthopyroxene. Pyroxenes are silicates consisting of single chains of silica tetrahedra. Orthopyroxenes are pyroxenes with a certain structure.
  • Rocks with pyroxene have also been used to make crushed stone that is used in construction.
  • When meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere (or that of another planet, like Mars) at high speed and burn up, the fireballs or “shooting stars” are called meteorsWhen a meteoroid survives a trip through the atmosphere and hits the ground, it’s called a meteorite.
                                                    Additional Informationmeteor is a streak of light in the sky caused by a meteoroid crashing through Earth’s atmosphere.Meteoroids are lumps of rock or iron that orbit the sun. Most meteoroids are small fragments of rock created by asteroid collisions.When a meteoroid enters the Earth’s upper atmosphere, it heats up due to friction from the air. The heat causes gases around the meteoroid to glow brightly, and a meteor appears.

Marburg Virus Disease

  • In News
  • Equatorial Guinea has confirmed its first-ever outbreak of Marburg virus disease after at least nine people died in the country.


  • Marburg Virus
    • Marburg virus disease (MVD), formerly known as Marburg hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. 
    • Marburg and Ebola viruses are both members of the Filoviridae family (filovirus). Though caused by different viruses, the two diseases are clinically similar. 
  • Transmission:
    • Rousettus aegyptiacus, fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, are considered to be natural hosts of the Marburg virus. 
    • The Marburg virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through human-to-human transmission  via direct contact with the blood, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials contaminated with these fluids.
  • Treatment:
    • There are no authorized vaccines or drugs to treat Marburg, but rehydration treatment to alleviate symptoms can improve the chances of survival.

River Cities Alliance

  • In News
  • DHARA the annual meeting of the members of the River Cities Alliance (RCA), is being organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in association with the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA).
    • DHARA which stands for Driving Holistic Action for Urban Rivers, is a platform to co-learn and discuss solutions for managing local water resources.

River Cities Alliance 

  • River Cities Alliance (RCA) was launched in 2021 as a dedicated platform for river cities across India to discuss & exchange information for sustainable management of urban rivers.
  • It includes cities from both the Ganga basin and non-Ganga basin states.
  • River Cities Alliance is a first-of-its-kind Alliance in the world, symbolising the successful partnership of the two Ministries i.e., the Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. 
  • The Alliance focuses on three broad themes- Networking, Capacity Building and Technical Support.


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *