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Lok Sabha passes bill to implement global norms on endangered species

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    12th Aug, 2022

Context

Lok Sabha recently passed by voice vote the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill-2021 that seeks to provide for implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

About

Key provisions of the Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2021:

  • Standing Committees of State Boards of Wildlife:
  • The Bill proposes setting up of Standing Committees of State Boards of Wildlife.
  • These committees will function like the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).
  • It will be able to make decisions on wildlife management and permissions granted for projects without having to refer most projects to the NBWL.
  • Rationalization of Schedules for Wildlife:
  • The bill rationalises Schedules for Wildlife under the Act by bringing it down from 6 to 4 major schedules.
  • For example, A schedule I category of wildlife (such as Tigers) are the highest protected under the Act.

Wildlife Management Plans:

  • The Bill mandates that Wildlife Management Plans which are prepared for sanctuaries and national parks across the country will now become a part of the Wildlife Act.
  • Further, they will have to be approved by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state.
  • Earlier, the plans were approved through executive orders.
  • There is also the insertion of a new section 42A about surrender of wild animalsand products.
  • The inclusion of the new Section 62A (l) that defines alien invasive species.
  • It has mandated the need to consult the Gram Sabha in protected areas falling under scheduled areas or areas recognised to possess forest rights based on claims under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
  • Regulation on invasive species:Bill empowers the central government to regulate the import and trade of invasive alien species.
  • Control of Sanctuaries:Empower the government to regulate the business of Chief Wildlife Warden in line with the regulatory guidelines made by central government.
  • Voluntary Surrender of Specimen:Any one surrendering any captive animal to the Chief Wildlife Warden, the person will not be compensated and the specimen of the captive animal will be considered as states property.
  • Penalties: Penalties on violation of the rules has been revised and increased under this bill.

The original Act:

  • The original Wild Life (Protection) Act acts to:
    • prohibits people from hunting wildlife
    • provides legal safeguards for different species based on their threat status
    • regulates trade and commerce in wild species
    • imposes penalties for wildlife-related crimes
    • specifies the terms to declare protected areas
  • The Act has been amended several times, in 1982, 1986, 1991, 1993, 2002, 2006 and 2013.
  • The proposed amendment is likely the most expansive so far in scope: it covers more areas of legislation, from trade in wild species to permitting filmmaking in protected areas and controlling the spread of invasive species.
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