Environment and EcologyGeneral Studies III

Biological Diversity Act, 2002

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 is an Act implemented by the Parliament of India for the preservation of biological diversity in India, and provides mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of traditional biological resources and knowledge. The Act was enacted to meet the obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), because India is a party of the convention {meeting}.

Overview of the Biological Diversity Act 2002

  • The Act main objective is to ensure the conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair usage of its resources in order to prevent overuse or eventual destruction of biodiversity. Since India is one of the most biologically diverse nations in the world, this act is a necessity to protect its biological heritage.
  • The salient features of the Biological Diversity Act are as follows.
  • Regulation of access to biological resources of the country
  • Conservation and sustainability of biological diversity
  • Protecting the knowledge of local communities regarding biodiversity
  • Secure sharing of benefits with local people as conservers of biological resources and holders of knowledge and information relating to the use of biological resources
  • Protection and rehabilitation of threatened species
  • Involvement of institutions of state governments in the broad scheme of the implementations of the Biological Diversity Act through the establishment of dedicated committees.

Any offence under this Act is non-bailable and cognizable

  • The act envisaged a three-tier structure to regulate the access to biological resources:
    • The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
    • The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)
    • The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) (at local level)
  • The Act provides these authorities with special funds and a separate budget in order to carry out any research project dealing with the biological natural resources of the country.
    • It shall supervise any use of biological resources and the sustainable use of them and shall take control over the financial investments and their return and dispose of those capitals as correct.
  • Under this act, the Central Government in consultation with the NBA:
    • Shall notify threatened species and prohibit or regulate their collection, rehabilitation and conservation
    • Designate institutions as repositories for different categories of biological resources
  • The act stipulates all offences under it as cognizable and non-bailable.
  • Any grievances related to the determination of benefit sharing or order of the National Biodiversity Authority or a State Biodiversity Board under this Act, shall be taken to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Exemptions from the Act

  • The Act excludes Indian biological resources that are normally traded as commodities.
    • Such exemption holds only so far the biological resources are used as commodities and for no other purpose.
  • The act also excludes traditional uses of Indian biological resources and associated knowledge and when they are used in collaborative research projects between Indian and foreign institutions with the approval of the central government.
  • Uses by cultivators and breeds, e.g. farmers, livestock keepers and bee keepers and traditional healers e.g.vaids and hakims are also exempted.

National Biodiversity Authority

  • In order to carry out the provisions of the act, the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) had been set up under the Ministry of Environments and Forest by the Government of India in 2003 to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002).
  • The NBA is a statutory, autonomous body headquartered in Chennai.
  • State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) were also created in the 29 states along with Biological management committees for each local body.
  • The functions of the National Biodiversity Authority are as follows
  • Monitoring and prevention of actions prohibited under the Act.
  • Providing advice to the government on how best to conserve biodiversity in India.
  • Prepare a report on how the government can select biological heritage sites. 
  • Make concrete steps to prevent the grant of intellectual property rights regarding locally used biological resources or allied traditional knowledge. 

Functions of the NBA

  • Creating an enabling environment, as appropriate, to promote conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
  • Advising the central government, regulating activities and issuing guidelines for access to biological resources and for fair and equitable benefit sharing in accordance with the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
  • Taking necessary measures to oppose the grant of intellectual property rights in any country outside India on any biological resource obtained from India or knowledge associated with such biological resources derived from India illegally.
  • Advising the State Governments in the selection of areas of biodiversity importance to be notified as heritage sites and suggest measures for their management.

State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)

  • The SBBs are established by the State Governments in accordance with Section 22 of the Act.

Functions of SBBs

  • Advise the State Government, subject to any guidelines issued by the Central Government, on matters relating to the conservation, sustainable use or sharing equitable benefits.
  • Regulate by granting approvals or otherwise requests for commercial utilisation or bio-survey and bio-utilisation of any biological resource by people.

Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs)

  • According to Section 41 of the Act, every local body shall constitute the BMC within its area for the purpose of promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity including:
    • Preservation of habitats
    • Conservation of Landraces
    • Folk varieties and cultivars
    • Domesticated stocks And breeds of animals
    • Microorganisms And Chronicling Of Knowledge Relating To Biological Diversity


  • The main function of the BMC is to prepare People’s Biodiversity Register in consultation with the local people.
  • The register shall contain comprehensive information on availability and knowledge of local biological resources, their medicinal or any other use or any other.

Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS)

  • Under Section 37 of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 the State Government in consultation with local bodies may notify the areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites.
  • The Biodiversity Heritage Sites are the well defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems – terrestrial, coastal and inland waters and, marine having rich biodiversity comprising of any one or more of the following components:
    • richness of wild as well as domesticated species or intra-specific categories
    • high endemism
    • presence of rare and threatened species
    • keystone species
    • species of evolutionary significance
    • wild ancestors of domestic/cultivated species or their varieties
    • past preeminence of biological components represented by fossil beds
    • having significant cultural, ethical or aesthetic values; important for the maintenance of cultural diversity (with or without a long history of human association with them)

Biological Diversity Act 2002

Environment Prelim Notes

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