From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Wildlife Protection Act, National Board for Wildlife
Mains level : Environmental clearances: Major bottlenecks in the process
The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) hasn’t met since 2014. Policy decisions and clearances have, meanwhile, come from a standing committee to the dismay of experts.
This newscard is all about the factoids on National Board for Wildlife. The fact that they haven’t met since 2014 makes it interesting for UPSC to quiz you on its details.
About National Board for Wildlife
- The NBWL is constituted by the Central Government under Section 5 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA).
- It serves as an apex body to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
- The board is advisory in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country.
- It is chaired by India’s Prime Minister and its vice-chairman is Minister of Environment.
- The NBWL has 47 members including the chairperson.
- Among these, 19 members are ex-officio members.
- Every new government constitutes a new board, based on the provisions of the WLPA, with the new PM as the chair.
- The primary function of the NBWL is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
- It has the power to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
- No alternation of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can be done without the approval of the NBWL.
Working through a Standing Committee
- The National Board may, at its discretion, constitute a Standing Committee.
- The Committee shall consist of the MoEFCC in charge as Vice-Chairperson, Member Secretary and not more than ten members to be nominated by the Vice-Chairperson from amongst the members of the National Board.
- The WLPA mandates that without the approval/recommendation of the NBWL, construction of tourist lodges, alteration of the boundaries of PAs, destruction or diversion of wildlife habitat and de-notification of Tiger Reserves, cannot be done.
- Several proposals seeking statutory approvals for such projects come up before the Standing Committee.
- Every proposal requires to be submitted by the State Government in the approved format with complete details (maps, field assessments, alternatives explored…).
- It must also contain the clear opinion of the officer in charge of a PA, the Chief Wildlife Warden and the State Government in consultation with the State Board for Wildlife.
- The Standing Committee will then have to consider such proposals in accordance with the provisions of the WLPA.
Back2Basics: Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
- WPA provides for the protection of the country’s wild animals, birds and plant species, in order to ensure environmental and ecological security.
- It provides for the protection of a listed species of animals, birds and plants, and also for the establishment of a network of ecologically-important protected areas in the country.
- It provides for various types of protected areas such as Wildlife Sanctuaries, National Parks etc.
- There are six schedules provided in the WPA for protection of wildlife species which can be concisely summarized as under:
|Schedule I:||These species need rigorous protection and therefore, the harshest penalties for violation of the law are for species under this Schedule.|
|Schedule II:||Animals under this list are accorded high protection. They cannot be hunted except under threat to human life.|
|Schedule III & IV:||This list is for species that are not endangered. This includes protected species but the penalty for any violation is less compared to the first two schedules.|
|Schedule V:||This schedule contains animals which can be hunted.|
|Schedule VI:||This list contains plants that are forbidden from cultivation.|