Biodiversity Laws in India

The diversity of all lives on earth is referred to as biodiversity. India is one of the 17 nations with the most diversity in the world. India is home to 7.8% of all species known to exist in the world while having just 2.5% of the global geographical area. Furthermore, India is a country with a wealth of both formal and informal traditional and indigenous knowledge. A vital component of agriculture and food production is biological variety. Almost infinite combinations of creatures make up natural ecosystems, from the millions of genes that serve as the building blocks to the thousands of plants and animals that occupy the globe.

Likewise, because of having so much elements, in order to protect and conserve them legislations are essentially required; therefore, there are different acts that the parliament of India, has passed.

What is the meaning of Biodiversity?

According to Section 2(b) of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, biodiversity is "the variety among living creatures from all sources and the ecological complexes to which they belong, and encompasses diversity within or between species and of eco-systems."

The term "biological diversity" refers to the variation among living things from all sources, such as terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems, as well as the ecological complexes to which they belong. This includes variation within and between species as well as within and between ecosystems.

Legislation on Biodiversity in India

There are several pieces of legislation related to biodiversity in India and, these are as follows −

  • Fisheries Act 1897

  • Indian Forests Act 1927

  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 1960

  • Biological Diversity Act 2002

  • Environment Protection Act 1986

  • Air (prevention and control of pollution) act 1981

  • Forest Conservation Act 1980

  • Water (prevention and control of pollution) act 1974

  • Wildlife protection act 1972

Indian Fisheries Act (1897)

The following was underlined in the Indian Fisheries Act −

Use of harmful fishing techniques, such as dynamiting and poisoning, is forbidden in upland and coastal waters. Fishing regulations include limiting mesh size, fish size, and capture, as well as a two-year prohibition on fishing during specific seasons and locations. Fish protection in certain seas. Imprisonment and warrantless arrest for any offence.

Indian Forests Act (1927)

The Indian Forest Act was passed in 1927 to codify existing forest-related laws, control the movement of forest products, and impose taxes on wood and other forest products. It is broken down into 13 chapters and 86 parts, covering everything from the definition of different forests to the fines that must be imposed when the Act's rules are broken. The Act's Section 2 specifies a number of terminology that are crucial to the study of forests, including cow, forest officer, and forest produce. Reserved, protected, and village woods are the three categories into which the Act divides forests.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (1960)

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 is a law passed by the Indian Parliament in 1960 to outlaw the needless suffering or discomfort of animals. The Act does not forbid the training or exhibition of any animals, but it does provide the Central Government the authority to declare it as unlawful.

Biodiversity Act (2002)

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 1992 affirms the sovereign rights of nations to exploit their own biological resources, and India's efforts to realise its goals led to the creation of the Biological Diversity Act in 2002. The Act seeks to preserve biological resources and related knowledge while also providing access to them in an equitable and sustainable way. It creates the National Biodiversity Authority in Chennai with the intention of carrying out the Act's objectives.

In order to preserve biological variety in India, the Indian Parliament passed the Biodiversity Act, which also establishes a system for the fair distribution of benefits resulting from the utilisation of traditional biological resources and knowledge. The Act was passed in order to fulfill requirements set out by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which India is a signatory. The Biodiversity Act was enacted on February 3rd, 2003.

The Environment Protection Act (1986)

It gives the central government the power to safeguard and enhance environmental quality, manage and lessen pollution from all sources, and impose restrictions on the construction and/or operation of any industrial facility for reasons of the environment. The Water (Prevention and Control) Act of 1974, the Air (Prevention and Control) Act of 1981, and the Coastal Regulation of 1991 are umbrella pieces of law that serve as a framework for the cooperation of union and state agencies. The government at the union is permitted to make the decisions necessary to safeguard and enhance the environment's quality. Also, it makes Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for some types of development operations necessary.

Air (prevention and control of pollution) act (1981)

The Air Act is a comprehensive piece of law that controls air pollution by designating regions as pollution control zones, placing limitations on industrial facilities, and establishing Pollution Control Boards to monitor pollution levels.

Forest Conservation Act (1980)

The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 is a law passed by the Indian Parliament to address concerns related to, incidental to, or connected to the protection of forests. It was passed and put into effect on October 25, 1980, with the intention of preventing further clearing of India's forests.

Water (prevention and control of pollution) act (1974)

The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 is a comprehensive piece of law that creates pollution control boards and controls the organisations in charge of monitoring water pollution. Its goals are to prevent, control, and reduce water pollution, maintain or restore the purity of the water, evaluate the amount of contamination, and penalise polluters.

Wildlife protection act (1972)

The Parliament passed the Wild Life (Protection) Act in 1972 to save various plant and animal species. It covers the entirety of India and offers protection for wild animals, birds, and vegetation. The species listed in Schedules III and IV are likewise protected, as are those included in Schedule I and part II of Schedule II. Cultivation and planting are prohibited by Schedule VI, and the enforcement authorities have the authority to compound offences under the Schedules.

Bodies Established to Conserve Biodiversity

The bodies established to conserve biodiversity’s are −

National Biodiversity Authority

The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was founded in 2003 to carry out the Act's requirements. It is an autonomous statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India with its headquarters in Chennai. India's Biological Diversity Act was put into effect by the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), which was founded in 2003. (2002). The NBA is an autonomous organisation that serves as a facilitator, regulator, and counsellor to the Government of India on issues related to biological resource conservation, sustainable use, and equitable benefit sharing.

State Biodiversity Boards

State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) have been established in 28 States across India. The State Governments established the SBBs, which handle all issues pertaining to access by Indians for commercial reasons. It advising the state government on issues connected to biodiversity and how to distribute its advantages fairly. It control the granting of authorizations or other requests for the human use of any biological resource for commercial purposes, as well as for bio-surveillance and bio-utilization.

Policies for Biodiversity in India

There are several policies related to biodiversity in India and these are as follows −


The Biodiversity Act restricts scientific research by restricting the access of genetic material from India to the rest of the globe. Nonetheless, neither the NBA nor biodiversity protection have benefited the country's stakeholders in biodiversity. It is critical to understand that compared to important concerns like food security and subsistence, financial gains generated from sharing biodiversity and traditional knowledge are negligible and meaningless.

The benefit shared by the stakeholders of biodiversity are neither serve as a replacement for creativity, invention, or industrialization, nor can it provide rural areas with a reliable source of additional revenue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the importance of the Biodiversity Act 2002?

Ans. It was therefore intended for the Biodiversity Act of 2002 to create a legislative framework for the preservation and sustainable use of India's biodiversity while also making sure that the benefits resulting from its usage were shared equally among all of its residents, particularly rural communities.

Q2. What are the main objectives of biodiversity conservation?

Ans. The main objectives of biodiversity conservation are −

  • To maintain the variety of species

  • Sustainable use of ecosystems and species

  • To protect vital ecological processes and systems that support life

Q3. How many biodiversity are there in India?

Ans. The Himalayas, the Western Ghats, the Indo-Burma area, and Sundaland are four of India's biodiversity hotspots (includes Nicobar group of Islands), there are many endemic species in these areas.

Q4. Which is the first biodiversity in India?

Ans. India's first Biodiversity Heritage Site was the Nallur Tamarind Grove in Bengaluru, Karnataka, which received this designation in 2007.

Updated on: 31-Mar-2023

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