[E&B Bodies #1] Guide to understanding the National Biodiversity Authority

Implementing the Biological Diversity Act in a decentralised manner

  • The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was established in 2003 to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002)
  • The NBA is a Statutory, Autonomous Body
  • It performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory function for the Government of India on issues of- conservation, sustainable use of biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources
  • Headquarters: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  • Structure: The Authority, Secretariat, SBBs, BMCs and Expert Committees
  • Since its establishment, NBA has supported creation of SBBs in 29 States and, facilitated establishment of around 37,769 BMCs

The Biological Diversity Act 2002

  • The Biological Diversity Act (2002) mandates implementation of the Act through decentralized system
  • It mandates NBA to focus on advising the Central Government on matters relating to:
  1. The conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of biological resources
  2. Advising the State Governments in the selection of areas of biodiversity importance to be notified as heritage sites and measures for the management of such heritage sites
  • The Act covers conservation, use of biological resources and associated knowledge occurring in India for commercial or research purposes or for the purposes of bio-survey and bio-utilisation
  • It provides a framework for access to biological resources and sharing the benefits arising out of such access and use
  • The Act also includes in its ambit the transfer of research results and application for intellectual property rights (IPRs) relating to Indian biological resources
  • The Act covers foreigners, non-resident Indians, body corporate, association or organization that is either not incorporated in India or incorporated in India with non-Indian participation in its share capital or management
  • These individuals or entities require the approval of the National Biodiversity Authority when they use biological resources and associated knowledge occurring in India

State Biodiversity Boards

  • State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) are to be established under Section 22(2) of the Act
  • So far 29 States have established the SBBs

Functions of SBBs:

  • Advise the State Governments on matters relating to conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of utilization of biological resources
  • Regulate by granting approvals or otherwise request for commercial utilization or bio-survey and bio utilization of any biological resource by Indians
  • Perform such other functions as necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act or as prescribed by the State Governments

Biodiversity Management Committees

As per the Act, the local bodies constitute the BMC in accordance with Section 41, within their area of jurisdiction


  • Promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity
  • Preservation of habitats, conservation of land races, folk varieties and cultivars, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals, micro-organisms
  • Chronicling of knowledge relating to biological diversity

Composition: A Chairperson, and six persons nominated by local bodies, including 1/3rd women and 18% SC/ST


  • Prepare, maintain and validate People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) in consultation with the local people
  • To maintain a Register giving information about the details of biological resources and traditional knowledge available within the jurisdiction of BMC
  • Advice on any matter referred to it by the State Biodiversity Board or Authority for granting approval
  • To maintain data about the local vaids and practitioners using the biological resources


  1. Critically evaluate the implementation of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 which is meant to fulfil the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Published with inputs from Swapnil

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