Forest Conservation Efforts – NFP, Western Ghats, etc.

Monsoon session of Parliament to decide fate of Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2022

Mains level: Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2022, Provisions, concerns and way forward


What’s the news?

  • The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 is set to be tabled during the monsoon session of the Parliament. Earlier, it was to be discussed in the Lok Sabha on March 29, 2023 but was deferred.

Central idea

  • The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2022, introduced in 2021 seeks to amend the existing Biological Diversity Act, 2002. However, it has faced criticism and reservations due to concerns that certain amendments may favor industry interests and not adequately uphold the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The bill’s journey so far has raised questions about its potential impact on biodiversity conservation in India.

Objectives of the Bill

  • The main objectives of the amendment bill are to ease regulations on wild medicinal plants,
  • Promote the Indian system of medicine
  • Foster an environment for collaborative research and investments
  • Reduce the burden of obtaining permissions from the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) for practitioners and companies producing medicinal products

Controversial Provisions of the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2022

  • The bill proposes to de-criminalize violations of biodiversity laws and withdraws the power given to the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) to file a First Information Report (FIR) against defaulting parties.
  • The bill allows domestic companies to use biodiversity without seeking approval from biodiversity boards. Only foreign controlled companies are required to acquire permission.
  • The bill includes the term codified traditional knowledge, which grants exemptions to users, including practitioners of Indian systems of medicine, from the provisions of approvals for accessing or sharing benefits.

Concerns raised by the activists

  • Some critics argue that the proposed amendments may weaken biodiversity conservation efforts in India
  • Lack of oversight and accountability may lead to unchecked utilization of biodiversity resources, which could negatively impact ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • The codified traditional knowledge may enable profit-seeking domestic companies to exploit traditional knowledge without adequately compensating the communities that have conserved and developed it for generations.
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) emphasizes the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of biodiversity. The proposed amendments may not fully align with these principles.
  • While the bill aims to promote traditional medicine and ease regulations, it may not sufficiently address the broader issues of biodiversity loss, habitat degradation, and the need for stronger conservation measures.
  • Weakening biodiversity protection and benefit-sharing mechanisms could disproportionately affect indigenous and local communities, which often rely on biodiversity for their livelihoods and cultural practices.

Way forward

  • Reassess and redraft the contentious provisions in the bill, particularly those related to decriminalizing violations, exempting domestic companies from seeking permission, and codified traditional knowledge.
  • Establish robust and transparent mechanisms for equitable benefit sharing from the use of biodiversity.
  • Adequately compensate indigenous communities and traditional knowledge holders for their role in conserving and preserving biodiversity.
  • Incentivize businesses that prioritize conservation and sustainable utilization of resources.
  • Strengthen enforcement measures to ensure compliance with biodiversity conservation regulations. Establish appropriate penalties for violations to deter non-compliance.
  • Align the bill with India’s international commitments, especially those agreed upon during the 15th Conference of Parties to the CBD.
  • Strengthen the capacity and authority of biodiversity governance bodies like the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) to effectively regulate and monitor biodiversity-related activities.


  • The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 presents a complex dilemma for biodiversity conservation in India. As the bill awaits discussion in the monsoon session, it becomes crucial for policymakers to address the concerns raised by activists and legal experts, ensuring that India’s biodiversity is safeguarded and aligned with global conservation goals.

Also read:

Why is there a controversy on the forest Bill?

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