BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY BILL 2021 (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 - Env & Eco)

News-CRUX-10     26th July 2023        
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Context: The Lok Sabha passed the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which aims to amend the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Highlights of the Bill

  • The Bill amends the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 to simplify compliance requirements for domestic companies.
  • Users of codified traditional knowledge and AYUSH practitioners will be exempted from sharing benefits with local communities.
  • The Bill removes research and bio-survey activities from the purview of benefit sharing requirements.
  • Benefit sharing will be based on terms agreed between the user and the local management committee represented by the National Authority.
  • The Bill decriminalises all offences under the Act.

Key Issues and Analysis

  • The term codified traditional knowledge has not been defined.  
  • A broad interpretation might exempt all local traditional knowledge from benefit sharing requirements.
  • The Bill removes the direct role of local communities in determining benefit sharing provisions.
  • The Bill decriminalises offences under the Act and instead provides for a wide range of penalties.  
  • Further, the Bill empowers government officials to hold inquiries and determine penalties.
  • It may be questioned whether it is appropriate to confer such discretion to government officials.
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