- It was born out of India’s attempt to realise objectives enshrined in UNCBD, 1992 which recognizes the sovereign rights of states to use their own Biological Resources.
- Aims at conservation of biological resources, managing their sustainable use and enabling fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use and knowledge of biological resources with the local communities.
Biodiversity: Biodiversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources and the ecological complexes of which they are part and includes diversity within species or between species and of ecosystems
Biological Resources: Biological resources means plants, animals and micro-organisms or parts thereof, their genetic material and by-products (excluding value added products) with actual or potential use or value but do not include human genetic material.
Salient Features – Biological Diversity Act
- Prohibits following activities without prior approval from National Biodiversity Authority:
- Any person or organisation (either based in India or not) obtaining any biological resource occurring in India for its research or commercial utilisation.The transfer of the results of any research relating to any biological resources occurring in, or obtained from, India.
- The claim of any intellectual property rights on any invention based on the research made on the biological resources obtained from India.
- Three-tier structure to regulate access to biological resources:
- National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)
- Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) (at a local level)
- Provides these authorities with special funds and a separate budget to carry out any research project dealing with the biological natural resources of the country.
- It shall supervise any use of biological resources and the sustainable use of them and shall take control over the financial investments and their return and dispose of those capitals as correct.
- Under this act, the Central Government in consultation with the NBA:
- Shall notify threatened species and prohibit or regulate their collection, rehabilitation and conservation
- Designate institutions as repositories for different categories of biological resources.
- The act stipulates all offences under it as cognizable and non-bailable.
- Any grievances relating to the determination of benefit sharing or order of the National Biodiversity Authority or a State Biodiversity Board under this Act shall be taken to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
Exemptions from the Act
- Excludes Indian biological resources that are normally traded as commodities.
- Such exemption holds only so far, the biological resources are used as commodities and for no other purpose.
- Excludes traditional uses of Indian biological resources and associated knowledge and when they are used in collaborative research projects between Indian and foreign institutions with the approval of the central government.
- Uses by cultivators and breeds, Ex. farmers, livestock keepers and beekeepers and traditional healers Ex. vaids and hakims are also exempted.
National Biodiversity Authority(NBA)
- The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was established in 2003 by the Central Government to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002).
- It is a Statutory body that performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory functions for the Government of India on the issue of Conservation and sustainable use of biological resources.
- The NBA has its Headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Structure of the NBA
- The National Biodiversity Authority consists of the following members to be appointed by the central government, namely:
- A Chairperson.
- Three ex officio members, one representing the Ministry dealing with Tribal Affairs and two representing the Ministry dealing with Environment and Forests.
Functions of the NBA
- Creating an enabling environment, as appropriate, to promote conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
- Advising the central government, regulating activities and issuing guidelines for access to biological resources and for fair and equitable benefit sharing in accordance with the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
- Taking necessary measures to oppose the grant of intellectual property rights in any country outside India on any biological resource obtained from India or knowledge associated with such biological resources derived from India illegally.
- Advising the State Governments in the selection of areas of biodiversity importance to be notified as heritage sites and suggest measures for their management.
State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)
- The SBBs are established by the State Governments in accordance with Section 22 of the Act.
- Structure: The State Biodiversity Board consists of the following members:
- A Chairperson
- Not more than five ex officio members to represent the concerned Departments of the State Government
- Not more than five members from amongst experts in matters relating to conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of biological resources and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources.
- All the members of the SBB are appointed by the respective State Governments.
Functions of SBBs
- Advise the State Government, subject to any guidelines issued by the Central Government, on matters relating to the conservation, sustainable use or sharing equitable benefits.
- Regulate by granting approvals or otherwise requests for commercial utilisation or bio-survey and bio-utilisation of any biological resource by people.
- There are no State Biodiversity Boards constituted for Union territories.
- The National Biodiversity Authority exercises the powers and performs the functions of a State Biodiversity Board for the UTs.
Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs)
- According to Section 41 of the Act, every local body shall constitute the BMC within its area to promote conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity including:
- Preservation of habitats
- Conservation of Landraces
- Folk varieties and cultivars
- Domesticated stocks and breeds of animals.
- Microorganisms And Chronicling of Knowledge Relating To Biological Diversity
- The main function of the BMC is to prepare People’s Biodiversity Register in consultation with the local people.
- The register shall contain comprehensive information on availability and knowledge of local biological resources, their medicinal or any other use or any other.
People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBR)
- The PBRs focus on participatory documentation of local biodiversity, traditional knowledge and practices.
- The register shall contain comprehensive information on the availability and knowledge of local biological resources, their medicinal or any other use or any other traditional knowledge associated with them.
- They are seen as key legal documents in ascertaining the rights of local people over biological resources and associated traditional knowledge.
Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS)
- Under Section 37 of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 the State Government in consultation with local bodies may notify the areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites.
- The Biodiversity Heritage Sites are well-defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems – terrestrial, coastal and inland waters and marine having rich biodiversity comprising of any one or more of the following components:
- richness of wild as well as domesticated species or intra-specific categories
- high endemism
- presence of rare and threatened species.
- keystone species
- species of evolutionary significance
- wild ancestors of domestic/cultivated species or their varieties
- past pre-eminence of biological components represented by fossil beds.
- having significant cultural, ethical or aesthetic values; important for the maintenance of cultural diversity (with or without a long history of human association with them)
- Areas having any of the following characteristics may qualify for inclusion as BHS.
|Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS)||District/State|
|Nallur Tamarind Grove||Bangalore, Karnataka|
|University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru||Karnataka|
|Glory of Allapalli||Maharashtra|
|Tonglu BHS and Dhotrey BHS under the Darjeeling Forest Division||Darjeeling, West Bengal|
|Gharial Rehabilitation Centre||Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh|
|Chilkigarh Kanak Durga||West Bengal|
|Naro Hills||Madhya Pradesh|