SYLLABUS SECTION: GS III (Environment and Ecology)


Recently, provisions of the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which is currently reviewing through a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), have been criticizing.

Biodiversity is all the different kinds of life you’ll find in one area—the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms like bacteria that make up our natural world. Each of these species and organisms works together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life.

Scientists have estimated that there are around 8.7 million species of plants and animals in existence. However, only around 1.2 million species were identifying and describing so far, most of which are insects. However, This means that millions of other organisms remain a complete mystery.

Highlights of the Bill:                                    

  • The Bill amends the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 to simplify compliance requirements for domestic companies.
  • Users of codifying traditional knowledge and AYUSH practitioners will be exempt from sharing benefits with local communities.
  • Bill removes research and bio-survey activities from the purview of benefit-sharing requirements.
  • Benefit-sharing will be based on terms agreed between the user and the local management committee represented by the National Authority.
  • The Bill decriminalizes all the offenses under the Act.

Key Issues:

  • Codifying traditional knowledge was not been defining.
    • A broad interpretation might exempt all local traditional knowledge from benefit-sharing requirements.
  • Bill removes the direct role of local communities in determining benefit-sharing provisions.
  • The Bill decriminalizes offenses under the Act and instead provides for a wide range of penalties.
  • The Bill empowers government officials to hold inquiries and determine penalties.  It may be questioning whether it is appropriate to confer such discretion to government officials.

What is a JPC?

  • A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is set up to examine a particular bill presenting before the Parliament, or for the purpose of investigating cases of financial irregularities in any government activity.
  • The JPC is an ad-hoc body.
  • It is set up for a given period of time and is aiming at addressing a specific issue.
  • In order to set up a JPC, a motion is passing in one House and supporting by the other House.
  • The committee’s members were decides by Parliament.
  • The number of members can vary. There are twice as many Lok Sabha members as the Rajya Sabha.
Powers and Functions:
  • A JPC is authorized to collect evidence in oral or written form or demand documents in connection with the matter.
  • The proceedings and findings of the committee are confidential, except in matters of public interest.
  • The committee of the government can take the decision to withhold a document if it is considering prejudicial to the safety or interest of the State.
  • The Speaker has the final word in case of a dispute over calling for evidence.
  • The committee can invite interested parties for inquiry and summon people to appear before it.
  • The committee gets disbande following the submission of its report to Parliament.


Source: The Hindu

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