December 21, 2021 3:20:45 am
Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Monday referred the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
Yadav had introduced the Bill in Lok Sabha last week. Ministry officials have said that the draft Bill will also be opened for public consultations soon. The 21-member committee is to submit its report to Parliament in the next session.
Since its introduction, the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, has been criticised by environmentalists, with detractors saying that the draft Bill aims at opening up biodiversity resources — protected under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, which the government is seeking to amend — to companies looking to make a profit.
The Environment Ministry, meanwhile, has said that the Bill looks at enhancing patenting by Indian researchers and companies by opening up regional offices of the National Biodiversity Board which issues permission.
Environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta said, “We are in the midst of a huge biodiversity crisis, especially with climate change, with species increasingly either going extinct or facing the threat of extinction… The consultations that the government has done has beenprimarily with industry — that is, the very companies that will profit from relaxing of these norms.”
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