Forest Conservation Efforts – NFP, Western Ghats, etc.

What is the Biodiversity Act? What changes has the Lok Sabha cleared in the law?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Biodiversity Acts

Mains level: Biological Diversity Acts and Amendment Bill, significance

What’s the news?

  • On July 25, the Lok Sabha gave its approval to a Bill to amend some provisions of the Biological Diversity Act of 2002.

Central Idea

  • The Lok Sabha’s recent approval of the bill marks a significant step in preserving India’s biological diversity and promoting sustainable utilization. The bill aims to address concerns raised by central ministries, state governments, researchers, industries, and other stakeholders regarding the implementation of the 2002 Biological Diversity Act.

What is the Biodiversity Law?

  • The Biodiversity Law, also known as the Biological Diversity Act of 2002, is a significant piece of legislation in India.
  • Its main objective is to conserve the country’s biological diversity, which includes animals, plants, microorganisms, gene pools, and the ecosystems they inhabit.
  • The law was enacted in response to the global need to protect and preserve biological resources, which were under threat due to human activities.

Key amendments proposed in the Biodiversity Law

  • Exemption for Indian Systems of Medicine: Certain users of biological resources, like practitioners of Indian systems of medicine, are exempt from making payments to the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) mechanism.
  • Treatment of Indian Companies with Foreign Equity: Companies registered in India and controlled by Indians are treated as Indian companies, even with foreign equity or partnership, reducing restrictions on their activities related to biological resources.
  • Streamlining the Approval Process: Provisions have been included to expedite approval for research using biological resources and filing patent applications.
  • Rationalization of Penalty Provisions: Penalties for wrongdoing by user agencies have been rationalized.

Significance of the Biodiversity Law

  • Conservation of Biological Diversity: The Biodiversity Law is crucial for preserving the diverse range of animals, plants, microorganisms, and ecosystems found in India.
  • Addressing Global Concerns: The law is a response to the global need to protect and conserve biological resources, which are under threat due to human activities. It aligns India with international efforts to safeguard biodiversity.
  • Implementation of CBD Commitments: India agreed to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1994. The Biodiversity Law helps fulfill India’s commitments under this international framework agreement, promoting biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
  • Sustainable Resource Utilization: The law emphasizes the sustainable use of biological resources, ensuring that they are utilized in a manner that does not deplete them or harm the environment. This approach promotes responsible resource management.
  • Supporting Traditional Systems of Medicine: The law recognizes the significance of traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha, which rely on medicinal plants and biological resources. It supports the conservation of these resources and traditional knowledge.
  • Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Mechanism: The Biodiversity Law incorporates an Access and Benefit Sharing mechanism in alignment with the Nagoya Protocol. It ensures the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources with local communities.

Factors behind the need for amendments

  • Addressing Stakeholder Concerns: Over the years, various stakeholders, including practitioners of traditional medicine, the seed sector, pharmaceutical companies, and the research community, raised concerns about certain provisions in the original law.
  • Supporting Traditional Systems of Medicine: One of the key reasons for the amendments was to encourage Indian systems of medicine, such as Ayurveda. The amendments sought to provide exemptions or favorable conditions for practitioners of traditional medicine to access and use these resources.
  • Attracting Foreign Investment: By simplifying and streamlining processes, the government intended to make it easier for foreign entities to engage in research and business activities related to biodiversity in India.
  • Promoting Research and Innovation: The amendments aimed to expedite the approval process for research involving biological resources and simplify procedures for filing patent applications.
  • Rationalizing Penalty Provisions: The amendments likely involved rationalizing the penalty provisions for wrongdoing by user agencies. This was done to ensure that the penalties imposed for non-compliance with the law were fair and appropriate.

Way forward

  • Integrated Policies: Develop and implement integrated policies that prioritize both biodiversity conservation and sustainable utilization. Ensure that economic development initiatives are aligned with environmental protection goals.
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Foster collaboration among government bodies, NGOs, industries, local communities, and researchers to jointly address biodiversity challenges and promote sustainable practices.
  • Empower Local Communities: Empower local communities, especially indigenous groups, in biodiversity management and decision-making processes. Recognize their traditional knowledge and incentivize their involvement in conservation efforts.
  • Conservation Reserves and Protected Areas: Strengthen and expand the network of conservation reserves and protected areas to safeguard critical ecosystems and habitats.
  • Sustainable Resource Use: Promote sustainable practices in industries relying on biological resources, such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. Encourage eco-friendly and resource-efficient approaches.
  • Green Business Practices: Encourage businesses to adopt green practices and environmental certifications, recognizing their commitment to sustainability.
  • Education and Awareness: Raise public awareness about the importance of biodiversity, conservation, and sustainable resource utilization. Educate citizens about the benefits of preserving natural resources.


  • The passage of the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill by the Lok Sabha reflects India’s commitment to preserving its rich biological diversity and promoting its sustainable use. As the bill advances to further stages of approval, it is essential to strike a balance between conservation and utilization, ensuring that future generations can benefit from the wealth of biological resources the country possesses.

Also read:

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

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