Biological Diversity Bill referred to Joint Committee of Parliament

What is the news?

The Environment Minister has referred the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to a Joint Parliamentary Committee.

What are the key provisions of the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021? 

Click Here to read provisions of the Bill

Other Important Provisions:

–  It streamlines the process of Patenting for Indian researchers to encourage patenting. For this, regional patents centres will be opened across the country.

It allows for foreign investment in research in biodiversity. However, this investment will necessarily have to be made through Indian companies involved in biodiversity research. For foreign entities, the approval from the National Biodiversity Authority is necessary.

It gives the option of marketability of the research outcome which will encourage more research including the research collaboration with other countries. 

Must Read: Role of National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-Being on India’s Biodiversity
What are the criticisms against the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021?

Firstly, the Bill has been introduced without seeking public comments as required under the pre-legislative consultation policy.

Secondly, the Bill aims at opening up biodiversity resources to companies looking to make a profit.

Thirdly, the bill has not only diluted the penalty provision by replacing imprisonment with fines in the proposed legislation, but also replaced the judge (court) with a joint secretary-level officer to determine the penalties.

Fourthly, the Bill exempts cultivated medicinal plants from the purview of the Act. However, it is practically impossible to detect which plants are cultivated and which are from the wild.

Source:  This post is based on the articleBiological Diversity Bill referred to Joint Committee of Parliament published in Indian Express on 21st Dec 2021.

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