Biodiversity Act 2002: Features, Objectives, National Biodiversity Authority

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Biodiversity Act 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to conserve biological diversity in India. The act was passed on February 5, 2003, and commenced on October 1, 2003, and July 1, 2004. Biodiversity Act 2002 is the first attempt in India to legislate the conservation of biodiversity. To meet the requirements of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD), the Biodiversity Act 2002 was enacted.

The Biological Diversity Act 2002 promotes the equitable sharing of benefits derived from biodiversity utilization while also facilitating the conservation and sustainable use of these invaluable resources. The law is imperative to safeguard India’s biological legacy. This article puts emphasis on the Biodiversity Act 2002, its salient features, objectives, and National Biodiversity Authority.

What is Biodiversity Act 2002?

Biodiversity is an important natural resource that supports all life forms on Earth. It is vital for agriculture and forestry (for example, through pollination), fisheries, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism industries. Thus biodiversity is a critically important resource for sustaining human societies worldwide.

Biodiversity Act 2002 Notes PDF

The main goal of the Biodiversity Act 2002 is to ensure the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. In addition, this Act makes sure of the fair usage of its resources to prevent the overuse of destruction of biodiversity. India is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world; thus Biological Diversity Act 2002 is vital to protect biological heritage.

Salient Features of Biodiversity Act 2002

The salient features of the Biological Diversity Act 2002 are as follows:

  • Regulation of the biological resources in the country.
  • Notify the threatened species and control or restrict their restoration, collection, and conservation.
  • The Biodiversity Act 2002 also protects the knowledge of local communities regards to biodiversity.
  • Sustainability and conservation of biological diversity.
  • Offenses mentioned by the statute are defined as non-bailable and cognizable.
  • To carry out the study involving the biological resources of the nation.

Exemptions from Biodiversity Act 2002

  • This act excludes the biological resources of India that are sold as commodities.
  • The Biodiversity Act 2002 also excludes the traditional uses of biological resources in India when they are used for research purposes in India or foreign institutions with the approval of the central government.
  • Other exemptions are breeds and cultivators, beekeepers, livestock keepers, and traditional healers, e.g., Hakims and Vaids.

Objectives of the Biodiversity Act 2002

The act envisages establishment at national and state levels. The objectives of the Biological Diversity Act 2002 are mentioned below.

  • Conserve biodiversity, use it sustainably, and promote its equitable sharing as a common heritage of humankind.
  • Provide for conservation of bio-geographical classification; establishment and regulation of National Biodiversity Authority, and State Biodiversity Boards; setting up Biodiversity Management Committees;
  • Preparation of People’s Biodiversity Registers by such committees;
  • Laying down procedures for access to biological resources and associated knowledge by foreign citizens or companies;
  • Establishing an effective mechanism for collecting and sharing benefits arising from using biological resources, knowledge, etc.; laying down penalties for infringement, etc.

Framework of Biodiversity Act 2002

To control access to biological resources, a three-tiered framework was envisioned by the legislation:

  • The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs)
  • The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
  • The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)

Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs)

There must be a BMC or Biodiversity Management Committee in every local body as per Section 41 of the Biodiversity Act 2002 for further protection, and recording of biological variables such as conservations of landraces, preservation of habitats, Domesticated stocks And breeds of animals, Folk varieties and cultivars, Microorganisms And Chronicling Of Knowledge Relating To Biological Diversity.

National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)

To carry out the provisions of the Biodiversity Act 2002, the National Biodiversity Authority was established under the Ministry of Environments and Forest by the Government of India in 2003.

  • NBA monitors and prevents the actions prohibited under the Biodiversity Act 2002.
  • It also gives advice on how the government the conservation of biodiversity in India.
  • NBA prepares a report on how the government should proceed with choosing biological heritage sites.
  • It shall notify the threatened species.

State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)

State Biodiversity Boards were established in accordance with Section 22 of the Biodiversity Act 2002. It deals with matters relating to access to biological resources for commercial purposes. It advises the state government on matters relating to conservation and sharing equitable benefits. SBB also regulates granting of approval for the commercial use of any biological resources by people.

Provisions of Biodiversity Act 2002

The Biological Diversity Act 2002 has provisions for:

  • Establish National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) to implement the provisions.
  • Regulation of access to biological resources, including prior informed consent, benefit-sharing, and submission of bio-survey reports.
  • Punishment for offenses under the Biodiversity Act 2002
  • Establish People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs) at the local level by SBBs to document knowledge about local biodiversity and associated customary sustainable practices.
  • Intent to use traditional knowledge for commercial purposes.
  • Publication or exhibit of traditional knowledge without prior consent.

Hence, it requests all the members of this esteemed Network to kindly disseminate information about the Biodiversity Act 2002 in their respective states/Union Territories and encourage stakeholders to submit proposals for obtaining access to biological resources and associated knowledge wherever needed. It also urges them to take the necessary steps to establish State Biodiversity Boards at their end to ensure effective implementation of the Biological Diversity Act 2002.

Biological Diversity Act 2002 UPSC

The Biodiversity Act 2002 comes under the Government Policies & Interventions and also finds its mentions in the Environment UPSC Syllabus.  This act not only recognizes the ecological importance of biodiversity but also acknowledges the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples in conserving and using biological resources sustainably.

Understanding the importance of the Biodiversity Act in the UPSC syllabus equips aspirants with knowledge about the legal framework, policy measures, and international conventions related to biodiversity conservation. Aspirants must cover this topic in detail with the help of UPSC environment books, and notes during their preparation.

Biological Diversity Act 2002 FAQs

Question: The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 in India aims to: a) Promote industrial development b) Protect and conserve biodiversity c) Encourage deforestation d) Facilitate international trade of endangered species

Answer: b) Protect and conserve biodiversity

Question: The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 provides legal provisions for the establishment of: a) National Parks b) Wildlife Sanctuaries c) Biodiversity Management Committees d) Forest Development Corporations

Answer: c) Biodiversity Management Committees

Question: The act requires the prior approval of the _______ for any non-commercial utilization of biological resources. a) Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change b) National Biodiversity Authority c) State Biodiversity Board d) District Collector

Answer: b) National Biodiversity Authority

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