New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill 2022 through voice vote. The Bill amends the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 to simplify compliance requirements for domestic companies.
The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill was introduced in Parliament December 16, 2021 by Union minister for environment, forest and climate change Bhupender Yadav.
The Bill was moved to a joint committee on December 20, 2021 due to concerns that the amendments favoured industry and contradicted the spirit of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
According to the government, the main aims of the amendment bill is to reduce burden on wild medicinal plants and encourage their cultivation, encourage Indian system of medicine, facilitate environment for collaborative research and investments, reduce need of practitioners and companies making medicinal products for taking permission from National Biodiversity Authority (NBA).
However, the bill also proposes to de-criminalise violation and even withdraws the power given to the National Biodiversity Authority to file an FIR against a defaulting party.
As per the provision of the Bill, users of codified traditional knowledge and AYUSH practitioners will be exempted from sharing benefits with local communities.
Initiating the discussion, Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal of BJP said, the Bill will promote research in the field of biodiversity and also benefit those states having rich bio-diversity.
He also added that those working on natural medicines will be able to market them and their intellectual property rights will be protected.
Replying to a brief discussion, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav said, “The amendments were introduced after wide consultations and many members in the House had also expressed their support for the bill”.
“This legislation will encourage cultivation of medicinal plants, research and overall development of Ayush sector” he said in the Lower House.
The Bill passed at a time when the world has set new targets for biodiversity conservation at the 15th Conference of Parties to CBD held in Montreal in December 2022. Access and benefit sharing remains an important part of this Framework.
Earlier, it was to be discussed in the Lok Sabha on March 29, 2023 but was deferred. The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill was introduced in Parliament December 16, 2021 by Bhupender Yadav.