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Biological Diversity Act, 2002

news-details Image Source Mar 03, 2021 21:36 IST · 2 min read

The Biological Diversity Act was enacted in 2002 for the preservation of biological diversity in India, and provides mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of traditional biological resources and knowledge.

The Act was enacted to meet the obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), because India is a party of the convention.

The Act prohibits any person or organisation from obtaining any biological resource occurring in India for its research or commercial utilisation.

It also prohibits the transfer of the results of any research or claim of any intellectual property rights on any invention made on the biological resources obtained from India.

The Act excludes Indian biological resources that are normally traded as commodities to be used as commodities and for no other purpose. Traditional uses of Indian biological resources and associated knowledge can be used in collaborative research projects between Indian and foreign institutions.

Farmers, livestock keepers and bee keepers and traditional healers e.g. vaids and hakims are also exempted.

The act envisaged a three tier structure to regulate the access to biological resources:

1) The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)

National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) is a Statutory body established in 2003 to implement Biological Diversity Act (2002). The NBA has its Headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

NBA advise the central government, regulate activities and issue guidelines for access to biological resources and for fair and equitable benefit sharing. It also take necessary steps to oppose the grant of intellectual property rights in any country outside India on any biological resource obtained from India.

The authority consists of a Chairperson, ten ex officio members representing the ministries of the Central Government and five non-official members to be appointed from amongst specialists and scientists.

2) The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)

The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) are established by the State Governments and consists of a Chairperson, not more than five ex officio members to represent the concerned departments of the State Government and not more than five members from amongst experts in matters.

SBBs advise the state government on matters relating to the conservation, sustainable use or sharing equitable benefits and regulate commercial utilisation or bio-survey and bio-utilisation of any biological resource by people.

There are no SSBs constituted for Union territories, the NBA exercises the powers of a State Biodiversity Board for the UTs.

3) The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs)

Every local body shall constitute the BMC within its area for the purpose of promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity.

Any grievances related 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).

Under this act, the Central Government in consultation with the NBA, should notify threatened species and prohibit or regulate their collection, rehabilitation and conservation and designate institutions as repositories for different categories of biological resources.

All offences under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 are cognizable and non-bailable.