Why is the Biological Diversity Bill facing opposition?

Source– The post is based on the article “Why is the Biological Diversity Bill facing opposition?” published in “The Hindu” on 4th August 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Economy

Relevance: Issues related to global economic development

News– Recently Parliament passed the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Why are there issues with the Bill?

The Bill provides exemptions for “codified traditional knowledge” and the AYUSH industry concerning benefit sharing. It deprives local communities of the advantages related to accessing biological resources.

The lack of a precise definition for “codified traditional knowledge” opens the door to potential exploitation.

This exemption is regressive because the legislation was initially enacted to guarantee “fair and equitable sharing of benefits.”

The Bill replaces criminal offences with monetary penalties. It raises concerns about potential resource exploitation.

To what extent has the Act been implemented?

According to a 2022 investigation conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment, many States lack data on the funds received from companies and traders for access and benefit sharing.

In cases where money was collected, it was not shared with local communities.

A 2016 study conducted by legal researchers revealed numerous challenges in various States regarding the implementation of provisions of the Act, particularly those related to access and benefit sharing.

What is viewpoint of industry about the Act?

The industry has expressed dissatisfaction with the regulations and has resorted to legal action seeking relaxation.

For instance, in 2016, the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board issued a notice to Divya Pharmacy for violating the Act by using biological resources without prior notification to the Board.

The company challenged the notice in the Uttarakhand high court, but the court ruled against them.

In 2015, representatives from Gujarat’s Ayurveda industry requested the central government to postpone the implementation of access and benefit sharing provisions, seeking relief for the sector.

However, the then Environment Minister stated that the industry had to deposit an amount towards these provisions and no exemptions could be granted.

The Bill explicitly mentions that stakeholders from various sectors, including the Indian system of medicine, seed, industry, and research sectors, expressed concerns about the need to simplify, streamline, and reduce compliance burden.

The objective of the Bill is to create a favourable environment for collaborative research and investments.

Print Friendly and PDF