Environment Minister Mr Bhupendra Yadav presented the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha; the Bill ratifies India’s obligation of the Nagoya protocol. It seeks to ease a variety of regulations of the Biological Diversity Act 2002. This acts as a boon to the Indian medicine industry by empowering local communities to utilise medicinal plants by encouraging the cultivation of such plants and seeds.
This legislative proposal also facilitates the research process by streamlining the process of patenting and opening regional patent centres. It shall also allow more foreign investments, but the same has to be done through an Indian company that conducts biodiversity research, and prior approval from the National Biodiversity Authority would be mandatory.
The new provisions also decriminalise a lot of offences that are non-bailable in nature, such as the aspect of benefit-sharing and access to biological resources. A major development which this bill introduces is that it exempts Ayush Practitioners from its ambit which means that Ayush practitioners do not need to intimate the state board to use or commence research on any biological resource, and they don’t have to share any benefits with the board for any commercial utilisation borne out from it.