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In order to discuss the biological diversity act, the essential requirement is to know the meaning of biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to 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 eco-systems.

Background:

Biodiversity encompasses the variety of all life on earth. India is one of the 12 mega biodiversity countries of the world. With only 2.5% of the land area India already accounts for 7%-8% of the recorded species of the world. India is a party to the convention on Biological Diversity (1992).

The Biological Diversity act primarily addresses the issue concerning access to genetic resources and associated knowledge by foreign individuals, institutions or companies, and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of these resources and knowledge by the country and the people.

Features:

  • Provides for the establishment of a National Biodiversity Authority (s. 8).

  • The functions and powers of NBA include advising the Central Government on matters relating to the conservation of biodiversity and advising the State Governments in the selection of areas of biodiversity importance to be notified as heritage sites.

  • Any person who is not a citizen of India; a citizen of India who is a non-resident, a body corporate, association or organization not incorporated or registered in India; or incorporated or registered in India which has any non-Indian participation in its share capital or management, who intends to obtain any biological resource occurring in India or knowledge associated for research or for commercial utilization or for bio-survey and bio-utilization or transfer the results of any research relating to biological resources occurring in India shall make an application to do the same with prescribed fees. (s. 3)

  • On contravention of any direction given or order made by the Central Government, the State Government, the National Biodiversity Authority or the State Biodiversity Board the offender shall be punished with a fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in case of a subsequent offence the fine may extend to two lakh rupees and in case of continuous contravention with additional fine which may extend to two lakh rupees every day during which the default continues. (s. 56)

Objectives:

  • To conserve the biological diversity

  • Sustainable use of the components of biodiversity

  • Fair and equitable sharing of benefit arising out of the use of the biological diversity

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