Biodiversity Bill to provide Legal Frame-Work for Conservation of Bio-Resources

Government agencies, citizensí groups, non-governmental organisations, scientists and academicians got together at Delhi on June 23, 2000 in a unique consultative process to formulate an action plan aimed at protecting the ecological security of the country. The occasion was a two-day inception-cum-training workshop organised by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for the key individuals who will be implementing the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Project (NBSAP) at the State and Regional levels. For implementation of the NBSAP, a consortium arrangement between Biotech Consortium India Ltd. and Kalpavriksh headed by Shri Ashish Kothari has been worked out.

In his inaugural address, Special Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forests Dr. Ashok Kumar Kundra said that the Biological Diversity Bill has been introduced in the Lok Sabha to provide a comprehensive legal frame work for conservation of bio-diversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of benefits arising from its use.

"It addresses the issues relating to regulation of access to biological benefits arising out of the access to and use of biological resources of the country and traditional knowledge related to these resources," Dr. Kundra said.

Speaking on the occasion, Inspector General of Forests Shri CP Oberoi said that bio-diversity is an inter-disciplinary subject and encompasses a whole range of issues and activities, which would require commitment of all stakeholders. "Biodiversity being an all pervasive subject, cannot be the sole preserve of any single Ministry or Department", he said and added that all of us from the Government and the non-government sectors, universities and colleges, research organisations, industry, senior citizens, women and forests have to work together to ensure the conservation of Biodiversity.

Shri Oberoi emphasised the need for highlighting those aspects of our culture and religions, which urge people to conserve our biological resources. He said that India is one of the 12-mega Biodiversity countries of the world. The Botanical Survey of India has recorded 46,000 species of plants. The Zoological Survey of India has recorded 81,000 species of animals. India is also rich in agricultural biodiversity and domesticated animals.