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Biodiversity Act 2002, Salient Features, Objectives, Limitations

Biodiversity Act 2002

The Biodiversity Act of 2002 was enacted by the Indian Parliament to address concerns related to the conservation and sustainable use of India’s rich biodiversity. The Biodiversity Act 2002 came into force on 5th February 2003 and complements the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

The need for such an Act arose from the realization that India is one of the world’s most biologically diverse countries, with a wide range of flora and fauna that are unique to the country. However, biodiversity was under threat from various factors, including habitat destruction, over-exploitation, climate change, and other human activities.

In addition, the traditional knowledge of local communities about the use and conservation of biodiversity was being eroded, and there was a need to protect and promote their rights in this regard. The Biodiversity Act of 2002 was thus designed to provide a legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of India’s biodiversity, while also ensuring that the benefits arising from its use were shared equitably among all its citizens, particularly local communities.

The Biodiversity Act 2002 was also aimed at promoting research and development in the field of biodiversity, by regulating access to it and ensuring that its use did not cause harm to the environment or lead to the loss of biodiversity.

Read about: Wildlife Sanctuaries of India

Biodiversity Act 2002 Salient Features 

The Biodiversity Act of 2002 is a comprehensive legislation that seeks to regulate access to India’s biodiversity, promote its conservation and sustainable use, and ensure the equitable sharing of benefits arising from its use. Some of its salient features include:

Feature  Description 
Regulation of Access to Biodiversity
  • Section 3 of the Act provides for the establishment of the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) to regulate access to India’s biodiversity. 
  • Section 4 of the Act specifies that any person or organization seeking to access India’s biodiversity for research or commercial purposes must obtain prior approval from the NBA.
Conservation of Biodiversity
  • Section 36 of the Act requires the government and local authorities to take measures to conserve and protect India’s biodiversity, including through the establishment of protected areas and the promotion of in-situ conservation.
Sustainable Use of Biodiversity
  • Section 8 of the Act recognizes the importance of using biodiversity in a sustainable manner and encourages the development of practices that support sustainable use. 
  • Section 7 of the Act requires that the use of biodiversity should not cause damage to the environment or the loss of biodiversity.
  • Section 21 of the Act requires that any benefits arising from the commercial use of India’s biodiversity must be shared equitably with local communities and other stakeholders.
  • Section 24 of the Act provides for the establishment of a National Biodiversity Fund to support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Intellectual Property Rights: 
  • Section 29 of the Act recognizes the intellectual property rights of local communities and traditional knowledge holders over the use and conservation of biodiversity. 
  • Section 3(1) of the Act provides for the establishment of a State Biodiversity Board in each state to facilitate the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including by ensuring the protection of the rights of local communities and stakeholders.
Offences and Penalties
  • Section 55 of the Act sets out penalties for non-compliance, including fines and imprisonment. 
  • Section 56 of the Act provides for the seizure of equipment and products used in contravention of the Act.

Read about: National Parks in India

Biodiversity Act 2002 Limitations 

While the Biodiversity Act of 2002 is an important legislation aimed at promoting the conservation and sustainable use of India’s biodiversity, it does have some limitations that may hinder its effective implementation. Some of these limitations include:

Lack of Awareness

There is still a lack of awareness among the general public, including local communities and stakeholders, about the provisions of the Act and their rights and responsibilities under it. This can lead to non-compliance and a lack of effective implementation.

Limited Resources

The government and other authorities responsible for implementing the Act may lack the resources, including personnel and financial resources, to effectively carry out their duties.

Inadequate Enforcement

The penalties for non-compliance under the Act may not be severe enough to deter violators, and there may be inadequate enforcement of the Act by the authorities.

Limited Coordination

There may be limited coordination among different government agencies responsible for implementing the Act, which can lead to duplication of efforts and inefficiencies.

Challenges in Benefit-Sharing

While the Act mandates equitable benefit-sharing, there may be challenges in identifying and distributing the benefits arising from the use of biodiversity, particularly in cases where the benefits are indirect or diffuse.

Limited Engagement with Private Sector

The Act primarily focuses on regulating access to biodiversity for research and commercial purposes. However, there may be limited engagement with the private sector, which can be a major user of biodiversity and may have significant impacts on biodiversity conservation.

Read about: Tiger Reserves in India

Biodiversity Act 2002 UPSC

The Biodiversity Act of 2002 is an important topic from the environment and ecology perspective and is relevant for the UPSC Civil Services Examination. This topic is important for both prelims and mains exams. Some key points about the Biodiversity Act that UPSC aspirants should be aware of include its background, salient features, limitations, significance and linkages with SDGs. 

Read about: Biodiversity in India

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What is Biodiversity Act 2002 summary?

It is a legislation enacted by the Indian government to regulate access to biological resources and associated knowledge, and ensure fair and equitable benefit-sharing.

What does the Biodiversity Act 2002 primarily address?

Act primarily address conservation, sustainable use and equitable sharing of benefits of India’s biological resources.

What is Amendment of Biodiversity Act 2002?

The act was amended in 2017 to provide clarity on some of its provisions and simplify procedures on access and benefit sharing.

What are the basic laws of biodiversity?

They include Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), Biodiversity Act 2002, Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and other national and international laws.

What is the importance of Biodiversity Act 2002?

The Biodiversity Act 2002 is important for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in India.

About the Author

I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!


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