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The Lok Sabha passes the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021. Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav proposed the law, which was approved after discussion. In order to implement the Agreement on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and increase the number of species covered by the convention, a bill to alter the Wild Life Protection Act of 1972 was introduced.
The standing committee discovered that several species were left out of the numerous wildlife and plant schedules that the Environment Ministry had suggested, and it has suggested a revised listing of timetables that would include these species.
Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill 2021
The amendment bill was initially introduced in Parliament on December 17, 2021, and on December 25, 2021, it was referred to a standing committee. On April 21, 2022, the committee turned in its final report. The Lok Sabha then discussed and approved the report.
In order to change the law that governs the protection of wild animals, birds, and plants in the nation, the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill was initially introduced in parliament in December of last year. The amendment is being put forth to expand the list of species that are legally protected. The legislation aims to conserve more species under the law and control international trade in wild animal and plant specimens in a way that does not existence of the species.
The measure intends to further the implementation of CITES, a global agreement adopted in 1973 by states to guarantee that the commerce in wild animals and plants does not endanger the species. According on threat assessments, the convention divides plant and animal species into three categories. The new measure would make sure that the government appoints a management authority to issue permits for species import and export as well as a scientific authority to offer the government with advice on the matter.
Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill 2021- Highlights
- Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav introduced the bill. It was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 17th December 2021.
- It strives to change the legislation that governs the preservation of untamed creatures, birds, and plants.
- The Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021, which aims to implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, was approved by voice vote in the Lok Sabha (CITES).
- The bill intends to advance the implementation of CITES, a global pact between states.
- The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, is intended to be modified.
- The Act also includes schedules of plants and animals that are subject to varying levels of government protection and oversight.
- The Act has undergone numerous amendments, the most recent of which was in 2006.
- The bill also gives the federal government the authority to control and halt the importation, trade, possession, or spread of invasive alien species. These are non-native plant and animal species, and their introduction could have an impact on the habitat and wildlife balance in India.
- The act also gives state governments the authority to designate areas near national parks and sanctuaries as conservation reserves in order to safeguard various plant and animal species.
Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill 2021- Key Features
Implementing CITES Rules: The bill aims to put CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) provisions into practise (CITES). The Management Authority may apply an identity mark to a specimen in accordance with CITES. Anyone is forbidden by the Bill from changing or deleting the specimen’s identification mark.
Rationalizing Schedules: The Act now contains six schedules, one for each of specifically protected flora, animals, and vermin species (one). The total number of schedules is decreased by the Bill to four.
Invasive Alien Species: The Bills gives the government the authority to control or outlaw the importation, sale, ownership, or spread of invasive alien species. The term “invasive alien species” refers to plant or animal species that are not indigenous to India and whose introduction could have a negative influence on the habitat or the native wildlife. The invasive species may be taken and destroyed with the permission of the central government.
Control of Sanctuaries: According to the Act, the Chief Wildlife Warden is in charge of overseeing, running, and maintaining each state’s sanctuaries. The state government appoints the Chief Wild Life Warden. According to the Bill, the Chief Warden’s actions must adhere to the sanctuary’s management plans.
Conservation Reserves: State governments may designate areas near national parks and sanctuaries as conservation reserves under the Act in order to safeguard the local flora, animals, and their habitats. The Bill gives the federal government the authority to alert a conservation reserve as well.
Animal Surrender: Under the proposed legislation, anyone may voluntarily turn over any captive animals or animal products to the Chief Wildlife Warden. The person who surrenders these products won’t receive any payment. The state government acquires ownership of the objects that are given up.
Penalties: The Act specifies jail time and penalties as punishment for breaking its rules. These fines are raised by the Bill.
|Type of Violation||1972 Act||2021 Bill|
|General violation||Up to Rs 25,000||Up to Rs 1,00,000|
|Specially protected animals||At least Rs 10,000||At least Rs 25,000|
Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
In order to protect the animals, birds, and plants associated with wildlife, the Indian Parliament passed the “Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972” in that year. Except for the State of Jammu & Kashmir, it covers the entirety of India. India only had five recognised national parks prior to the passage of this legislation. In India, there are currently 101 national parks.
The State is required by Article 48A of the Indian Constitution to maintain the environment, preserve animals, and protect forests. The 42nd Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1976, included this provision.
The Indian people are subject to a number of fundamental obligations under Article 51A. One of them is to have compassion for all living things and to maintain and enhance the natural environment, which includes woods, lakes, rivers, and wildlife.
- Ecological imbalance can result from a sharp decline in flora and fauna, which has a variety of effects on the ecosystem and the climate.
- The Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act of 1935 was the most recent law to be passed during the British era in this regard. This needed to be improved because the penalties given to wildlife poachers and merchants were out of proportion to the substantial gains they made.
- India is home to a wide variety of flora and animals. The population of many animals was rapidly declining. For instance, Edward Pritchard Gee, a naturalist, stated that India was home to close to 40,000 tigers at the turn of the 20th century. However, a census taken in 1972 revealed that this number had fallen to just 1827.
- Before this Act was passed, there were just five national parks in India.
Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021- Proposed Modifications
The proposed bill includes amendments for better protected area management as well as justifications for certain permitted activities like livestock movement or grazing as well as lawful local community use of drinking water until they acquire a superior relocation strategy.
The Act contains six schedules that protect various species of plants, animals, and pests (one). Vermin are little animals that transmit sickness and pollute food. The Bill reduces the total number of schedules to four by:
- Schedule I for species that will enjoy the highest level of protection,
- Schedule II for species that will be subject to a lesser degree of protection and
- Schedule III that covers plants.
- It removes the schedule for vermin species. Vermin refers to small animals that carry diseases and destroy food.
- It inserts a new schedule for specimens listed in the Appendices under CITES (scheduled specimens).
The Wildlife Protection Act Protected Areas
1. Sanctuaries: Sanctuaries are places of refuge where injured, abandoned, and abused animals is permitted to remain in peace in their natural environment without any human involvement.
- They are regions where endangered animals naturally occur and are guarded against theft, hunting, and predation.
- Animals are not bred in this area for profit.
- Any disruption to the species is prohibited.
- Inside the sanctuaries, it is forbidden to catch or kill animals.
- A Notification issued by the State government designates a wildlife sanctuary. A State Legislature Resolution may change boundary lines.
- Private ownership rights and human activities like timber harvesting are allowed as long as they don’t negatively impact the welfare of the animals. Only very little human activity is allowed.
- They are accessible to everyone. But individuals must be escorted at all times. There are limitations on who is permitted to enter and/or live inside the confines.
2. National Parks: The government has designated certain regions as national parks in order to preserve the ecosystem.
- Compared to a wildlife refuge, a national park has additional restrictions.
- State governments have the authority to declare national parks via notification. A resolution passed by the State Legislature must be used to change a national park’s limits.
- A national park’s primary goals are the preservation of the local biodiversity and the natural environment.
- In national parks, the environment, wildlife, and flora are all present in their native forms.
- Their borders are established and clear. Human activity is prohibited in this area.
- Nobody is allowed to harm, remove, or exploit any wildlife from a national park, as well as harm or remove any wild animal’s habitat from within a national park.
- Human activity is not permitted.
- Private tenancy rights and livestock grazing are prohibited in this area.
- It is prohibited to hunt or capture any of the species listed in the Schedules of the Wildlife Act.
3. Conservation Reserves: Following consultation with the neighbourhood, the State government may designate a region as a conservation reserve (especially those that are close to sanctuaries or parks).
4. Community Reserves: Following consultation with the neighbourhood or a volunteer working to preserve the species, the State government may designate any private or public area as a community reserve.
5. Tiger Reserves: In India, these places are set aside for the preservation and protection of tigers. On the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s advice, they are declared.
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